Why is Robert Snodgrass struggling to live up to last season’s form?

The Scottish midfielder has looked off the pace and lost his place in the team

He was the nowhere man, the man whose career at West Ham came back from the dead, so much so that at the end of last season he was verging on being almost a cult hero at the London Stadium.

And yet just a few months into this new season he has similarities to the departed American billionaire Howard Hughes – he was virtually a recluse when it comes to first team performances.

That man is none other than Robert Snodgrass. As our awful October was coming to an end it was almost a case of where did it all go wrong for our Scottish midfielder? But then came the Blades and suddenly there was one man our manager needed to revitalise a struggling midfield and that was good old Snoddy, who not only scored in that game but, in my opinion, was man of the match.

But let’s rewind a little. When Manuel Pellegrini joined our club there were rumours that there were two players that really impressed him in pre-season, one of those turned out to be Robert Snodgrass and true to that form shown in friendlies, he became a player that our new Chilean manager repeatedly turned to.

Last season Robert appeared in a total of 38 games in all competitions, only Felipe Anderson appeared in more with 40 appearances.

Of those 38 games, 10 were as a substitute but nevertheless last season could be summed up as a pretty good one in Robert’s eyes and to those appearances he even added four goals.

But this season he has appeared in just four league games and two cup matches, and Snoddy was very much a bit player. Of those games played only one has been a league start but he seemed to be one of the first names on the starting line up for the League Cup.

But in those two games we all now know that having squeezed past Newport County, we were completely embarrassed against Oxford. Add to that you have Robert’s international woes where he is part of one of the poorest performing Scottish teams in many a year.

So where did it all seemingly go wrong? Well the summer break didn’t go too well for Snoddy. Firstly, Pellegrini decided that our midfield needed strengthening and went out and purchased Pablo Fornals.

Then the medical staff worked wonders and our trio of injured midfielders not only moved off the treatment table but started to really perform.

Manuel Lanzini and Andry Yarmolenko have now made themselves regulars – even Jack Wilshere has made the odd appearance.

Then of course you have Declan Rice and Mark Noble, both of whom are having great seasons and the current team is distinctly poorer when those two are not on the pitch.

So where does Snoddy play? Yes, Felipe Anderson can be hit and miss but there is no way that Robert could replace our Brazilian in that starting line-up.

To me it was not really where it had gone wrong for Snoddy, it’s more a case of those in front of him becoming undroppable, if there is such a word.

What did not help his cause was the fact that those two recent starts in the cup games were generally all round poor performances not just for Snoddy but for the whole team. Against Newport he was part of a team that escaped Rodney Parade with a win that was not really deserved and then he had a part to play in the disgraceful loss to Oxford, a night that has to be one of the darkest in our recent history.

It certainly seems like the odds are stacked up against him. So how can Robert turn this all around? Well it’s going to be difficult.

Firstly, those in front of him on the team sheet have continued to play Reasonably well. Add to that the fact that we are out of the League Cup and the FA Cup doesn’t start until January, plus there is no reserve team football anymore and therefore the chance to shine in a competitive match is limited.

All that is left is for him to shine in training and when you are not in contention for a place in the all important first 11 it’s difficult. But the game against Sheffield United could just be the turning point. He was just what the team needed. He showed determination and real dedication seeming to battle for every minute he was on the field. He also took his goal well and could just be the additional leader to help Mark Noble on the field.

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