Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has discussed West Ham’s troubles this season and has attributed their poor campaign to their move last summer.
The Hammers left the Boelyn Ground for London’s Olympic Stadium prior to the current campaign but have struggled to make their new stadium feel like home, with five consecutive defeats putting them in real danger of relegation.
Swift exits from the cup competitions this season, including a departure from the Europa League in the qualifying stages, have affected the Hammers’ chances of developing a feel-good factor at their new home.
Slaven Bilic’s position as manager of the side has been brought into scrutiny following their recent sequence of defeats but BBC pundit Martin Keown believes their biggest problem has been the failure to adjust to life in their new stadium.
Answering a question on The Daily Mail’s website, the former England international said:
“The move away from Upton Park has really affected them. Historically that tends to be the case. There was something unique about playing at their old ground.”
“Whenever they play at the London Stadium, the pitch looks massive.”
“The midfield looks like it cannot get near anyone, and they almost get outplayed.”
“That is a massive concern, because you want that dominance at home. They just looked like they had that really good balance of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, and they had Diafra Sakho available for a lot more of the season.”
“Lanzini is still around, and played last night, and he’s one of few players who can come away from the campaign with a bit of credit. I rate him highly.”
“The manager must be under immense pressure. He’s struggling. There’s no rocket science there. The owners are ambitious people. They will be looking at what the likes of Hull done recently.”
Leicester have seen relegation rivals Hull City and Leicester improve their fortunes dramatically since appointing Marco Silva and Craig Shakespeare respectively and the Hammers will have to consider changes of their own if they experience another loss this weekend.
Defeat for the Hammers would see their advantage over the bottom three slip to just two points, whilst their chances of survival would be significantly boosted by victory.