A number of things in life are certainties.

Growing old, ​taking on more responsibilities and, in my case, going bald. There was nothing I could do about it, losing my hair was just one of those things that the hereditary gene-makers of the world decided would happen at some stage.

There's also one other thing that's become a certainty this season - West Ham's inability to put in a performance when they really need one.


After Bournemouth and Aston Villa's victories over Brighton and Watford respectively, David Moyes' Hammers really needed to show what they were made of - even though they were facing a tricky trip to high-flying ​Leicester - to create some separation between themselves and the relegation zone.

Brendan Rodgers' Foxes have been bloody superb this season and quite rightly were favourites heading into the game. But having gone through a (relatively) poor patch of late, losing four of their last six games, now was the time for Moyes to galvanise his side into putting in a rousing display.

But, as usual, that didn't happen.

Instead, Leicester were in absolute cruise control from minute one, dominating possession as they relentlessly pressed West Ham back towards their own penalty area. 

Crisp passing, intelligent movement between the lines and players with the ability to drive forward and run with the ball - namely James Maddison, Ayoze Perez, Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy - caused a raft of problems for West Ham's defence, highlighting the same old deficiencies in their side.


We could sit here and pick the bones out of each individual ​West Ham performance, but instead we'll look at an overriding theme in this side. 

Without Michail Antonio, they have no pace. Absolutely no pace, whatsoever. 

The frustration is that this isn't new information, it's something that has been ingrained within the fabric of West Ham's squad for a number of years.

Now, the issue with having no pace is that, when you do get the ball back, you do absolutely nothing with it - because pace is a fundamental basic of being able to compete at the highest level.

To paint a quick picture for you, Leicester lined up with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation - with Perez and Barnes looking to drift infield in order to create pockets of space for full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. In doing so, they overloaded the wide areas, leaving Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans to fend for themselves at the back, with the protection of Nampalys Mendy.

To counter, West Ham were operating in a shape that can best be described as 3-5-1-1; Manuel Lanzini playing off Sebastien Haller up top, with Robert Snodgrass, ​Mark Noble and Declan Rice operating as a central midfield three.

That's the pace-less Snodgrass, Noble and Rice in a midfield three, to repeat.

When West Ham got the ball back, eventually, they played it into the channel for Haller to attempt to hold it up or flick it on. They did that because, shock, they can't play it along the floor in the same manner as Leicester and not one of the aforementioned players is capable of running with the ball - again, Antonio aside - at any pace, let alone a brisk one.

Dinked little aerial balls down the line are a good idea in principle, but you need willing runners looking to get in behind. Too often, ​Lanzini, who once struck up a decent partnership with the (not so) dearly departed Marko Arnautovic in east London, was nowhere to be found and again looked a shadow of the player he was before his ACL injury in May 2018. 

Poor Haller must be wondering what on earth he's done moving to West Ham.

Manuel Lanzini

So instead of putting up a fight throughout, West Ham put up more of a whimper. A short bright spell in the second half was inspired by substitute Antonio, who is by a mile the club's best player, but it was too little, too late - with a final ten-minute capitulation summing up West Ham's turgid season so far.

The key takeaway from this game is painfully obvious, though. Investment is needed, quickly, in players who can inject a bit of life, a bit of spark and a bit of urgency into this West Ham side - otherwise the pedestrian football played at times will earn them a one-way ticket to the Championship.

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