A rather abysmal first half of the season has the ire and sting taken out of it with a long month of World Cup action. For West Ham to turn their season around they’ll need one of their marquee stars to find his form again immediately to ignite this stale offence.
The lack of identity in this season’s West Ham has already been discussed. A hardworking team that presses and runs endlessly, as shown last season, is nowhere to be seen. The spotlight shows the issue to be in the middle of the pitch, but a terrible offence this season has to share the blame.
A disappointing first half of the season for West Ham is echoed by one of the team’s most important players, desperate for a turnaround of form.
That is why Jarrod Bowen is undoubtedly the Hammers’ most important player as the second half of the season approaches. The high-flying winger has stumbled out of the gate this season, bringing a fraction of his attacking skills to the table and hindering the success of a team that relies on his game-breaking abilities.
Last season, Bowen racked up 12 Premier League goals and 12 assists. Up to this point in the season, Bowen had three goals in five assists in league action. This year he only has two goals and no assists thus far into the year.
It’s clear he’s struggling especially after his break-out season just a year ago, but what is the biggest reason for his slow start? Well, David Moyes has brought in two extremely talented playmakers in Gianluca Scamacca and Lucas Paqueta, but instead of playing them to the best of their abilities, Moyes has dropped them in at CAM and ST to run sprints in a counter-attacking team.
With these players, Bowen should be thriving. Scamacca can pull central defender coverage with his size and goalscoring threat up top creating space for Bowen to drop in the box and pounce on loose balls. Meanwhile, a deeper-laying Paqueta should be able to spring Bowen on sprints few Premier League fullbacks can match.
Instead, Bowen and this West Ham attack are a bit lost in their current situation. The team tends to hold onto the ball more in the offensive half instead of striking on the break, and with a lack of ideas to instigate offence from possession, these opportunities have gone wasted.
In a simplified view, Bowen’s effectiveness can be amplified by better game planning from his manager but also by Bowen being more clinical when his chances come (four missed big chances already this season).
If West Ham push on from their slow start it’ll be on the star man playing on the right. Bowen is a scintillating player when on form and with goals against Cambridge United and Fulham in midseason friendlies, his form may be returning just in time. No time like the present to turn it around – for Bowen and the rest of West Ham.