West Ham’s new signings have thoroughly impressed in their opening four matches, but concerns have arisen over Mauro Zarate and if the forward has the physical strength to survive in the Premier League.
The Argentine, who signed from Velez Sarsfield in the summer, scored a spectacular volley in the Hammers 3-1 win away at Crystal Palace where he looked the real deal and inspired the team to victory.
However, against Hull on Monday night it was evident that his lack of physicality and lightweight stature may see him bullied into submission by defenders in this league.
There is no doubt that the 27-year-old has the skill and ability that could see him star in England.
Every time he picks up possession he looks to create something and commit defenders with his nimble footwork.
He has been predominantly used in an attacking midfield role by Sam Allardyce thus far, tasked with linking up the play, feeding the strikers and generally just being a nuisance to opposition defences with his pace and movement.
But as we saw at Hull, it was too easy for them to stifle the Argentine and nullify his impact on the match, which eventually saw him replaced by Alex Song in the second-half.
If Zarate is to succeed at Upton Park he simply has to get tougher. He may be small but that has not hindered other players of similar stature to himself, such as Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling and David Silva.
They too ply their trade as playmakers in their side, perhaps looked at by defenders as easy targets, but what makes them great players is their ability to find a way of evading their markers and using the strength that they have to their advantage.
Zarate may need to spend some time in the gym or just get some more game time under his belt, but it shouldn’t be long before he realises what is required to succeed in this league.
It is sink or swim and unfortunately, if you aren’t strong enough, you drown.
He got plenty of the ball against Hull but was unable to do anything with it, too easily shrugged off by more physical defenders. The skill is there for all to see, but the Premier League requires more than fancy footwork to succeed.
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