Nottingham Forest v Brentford - Premier League - City Ground The Premier League Nike Flight winter ball during the Premier League match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Saturday November 5, 2022. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xJohnxWaltonx 69646924

The problem with moving from one league to another is the part where players try to settle in and that’s the phase Pablo Fornals has found himself in at West Ham. The Spanish midfielder who had a total of 129 matches and 12 goals in his La Liga appearances for both Malaga and Villareal signed for West Ham in the summer transfer window for £24million. It was a signing that was seen as a signal of intent by the Hammers, keen to push into the top six this season. In fact, many leading bookmakers, as well as, had West Ham at 5/1 to finish in the European places this season.

Since then, Fornal has been in and out of Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line-up, starting only four out of 10 Premier League games for West Ham. It’s obvious the reason for that is because he has been struggling to impress both the coach and supporters who were pleased to see the Spaniard arrive at the London Stadium in the summer.

Currently, there is an on-going debate among fans over his performance and whether he would fall even downward than he already has on the pecking order and with his form, the possibilities of seeing that happen are high.

In one of those arguments, Tony Cottee, a Sky Sports pundit has expressed his concern about the form of the 23-year-old Spanish midfielder.

“I’m concerned, obviously, because so far he’s really, really struggled with the pace of the Premier League.”

“What I will say is that he’s not alone in that. We’ve seen many players over the years who have struggled to start with in the Premier League.

“I can think of a young Thierry Henry, who I’m sure would tell you himself, found it very, very difficult the first three, four months of his time at Arsenal, look what a player he turned out to be.”

As much as comparing Fornals with Thierry Henry might be overreaching, there is truth to it that the Arsenal legend did struggle to adapt in his first few months at the club and ended up running along when he found his feet.

How Fornals has performed so far

Without assuming he might be dropped by Manuel Pellegrini for someone who can deliver for the club, let’s have a quick look into his Premier League stats for this season and judge with that.

Fornals has started four games this season with a total of 418 minutes. Defensively, he has an average of one tackle, 0.2 interceptions, 0.3 fouls per game, 0.3 clearances and 0.6 dribbled per game.

On the offence, however, Fornals doesn’t have any goal or assists in the Premier League. He does have an average of 1.1 shots per game, 0.6 key passes per game, 0.4 dribbles per game, and was fouled an average of 0.2 per game.

He has 16.4 average passes per game and 83.5 pass success, 0.3 crosses, and one long ball. (WhoScored)

Fornal’s strength and weaknesses

Fornals’ weaknesses are too much to ignore. He is weak with aerial duels, crossing and his finishing is weak.

If he has to improve his game, these are areas he will need to really work on. Winning aerial duels is a major part of the game. Although, crossing might not be too much of a problem as he can always set a winger up to do that for him but what is a midfielder with a weak finish?

His strengths, however, complement his weaknesses. He is strong with through balls and gives key passes. Also, his dribbling is strong.


Currently, the chances of him falling down the pecking order are high. His performance has not been impressive so far and the team will need a performer who can truly deliver. With West Ham being 10th in the Premier League table, the club will need all the help they can get and with a midfielder that can’t deliver, it would be either to drop him or sell him out.