Ole Mediocre Moyes has wearing thin on my patience as of late, most notibly for his unwillingness to tailor his diamond formation against opposition. Do we need five defenders against Swansea? Shallow thinking would say no, but when you look a little bit deeper… nope, its still a no. It didn’t fucking help anyways, did it Moyesy? It’s application was understandable against Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea, but the games West Ham have win are in spite of the dysfunctional diamond he trots out there ever week.
There are two glaring issues with the diamond: it makes the team too narrow, and it hamstrings team selection.
Wingbacks are awesome when you have Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. Two young, stud defenders that play both sides of the ball well – they add huge support on the attacking wings and provide defensive coverage on the backend as well. Can someone please tell Moyes that Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice scissor-kickin’ Evra are not elite wingbacks? No one gives a shit about the combined age of them, because if they could play in that system they could. But they cant.
Zabaleta is an all time defender in the Premier League, cutting his teeth at Manchester United. Under Slaven Bilic he was THE only candidate for Hammer of the Year. He was a defender, played as a defender, and thrived as as defender. So what is the natural progression of where he should play? As the only rightside players, responsible for defending, attacking, supporting midfield, and shutting down the likes of Zaha, Salah, and whoever else the Premier League can throw at him. Solid man managing, Moyes. Move to a flat four and he becomes a defensive beast again, it’s as simple as that.
Evra seems to be the only person who has benefitted from Masuaku deciding to spit on a Wigan player. Thank the LORD the next match will be the last of his 6-match ban because no one can play the left side like him. Tops in the league in successful dribbles, he was a game changer for the creativeness of the team. I don’t even want Evra near the training facility. Oh, he loves this game? Maybe he should try training for it then because he looked like an old gas bag who’s career has passed him by…. wait, that may just be what he is.
Moyes who has committed to playing him over Michail Antonio for some ungodly reason has now stuck with him at left wingback for two consecutive 4-1 losses. I know injuries are a bitch, but excuses work better when you actually try to improve your team before failing. No one cares that your team has injuries if you’re unwilling to change anything to accommodate your player selection.
As for team selection, Moyes has made it simple: Chicharito will be dropped even though he is in form, and Mario cannot play alongside Lanzini. Both are WILD decisions. Its been a few weeks now where West Ham fans have had to take the hard pill that is Moyes’ team selection with clear omissions to its best players. For instance – Michail Antonio.
This powerful “play me wherever the fuck you want” player can be outrun by few, and out muscled by less. He is a game changer for West Ham simply because he is the perfect mix of pace and strength, and seeing him play makes me feel some kind of way. It’s a World Cup year and England looks as soft as ever, so Antonio has a real opportunity to make the team, the only inhibitor as it stands now is Moyes deciding a 35 year old French “defender” is better for his team.
Another asinine team selection for Moyes is the constant use of Cheikhou Kouyate in midfield. Maybe, the most remarkable player on West Ham for all the wrong reasons, Kouyate has legs like a gazelle, long and lean, perfect for running – yet he seems unable. The only time he won a tackle in the last month was when he then fed Antonio on a through ball that ended up in Liverpool’s net. As well, he is 6’3″ tall but cannot win a header. Seriously, he cant win an aerial ball. Its unbelievable to watch. He assisted a Marco Arnautovic goal after a lobbed ball down the field hit his back, unbeknownst to him, and landed at his forwards feet. He adds nothing, while Joao Mario sits on the bench, probably shining his European Cup championship trophy.
Moyes’ ineptitude is more indicative of a league that has passed him by. Wingbacks and three defenders, is high risk football that often won’t favour the team that have contextual senior citizens on the wings. His unwillingness to change is showing of his desire to be right, which is blocking his actual ability to succeed. As it stands now he is as successful as Bilic was in his last string of games and is trending in the wrong direction.
If I were Moyes I would fill the midfield and release the attack. A 4-3-3 formation with Cresswell and Zabaleta as fullbacks surrounding whoever the hell is fit at centre back would benefit from a defensive mid, like Noble, being responsible for covering back. Lanzini and Mario above Noble would fill out the midfield with wider space available to roam. They would feed a front three of Arnautovic, Chicharito, and Antonio – literally the attack EVERYONE has been crying out for all season. It is a predictable side, but it is West Ham’s best side.
As far as I’m concerned tinkering with player selection and formation decides the order of the top-6 team. Playing your best players in their most promising positions is how you stay alive in the Premier League. Moyes needs to swallow his pride and put his team in a better position to win. Scotland’s job has been filled so your escape route is closed Moyesy – now buck up and win or your future as a football manager will be as screwed as West Ham’s Premier League lives.
Reluctantly, Come On You Irons.