Big Bilic rethink after bitter Chelsea blow


West_Ham_Michail_Antonio4_594Slaven Bilic is bitterly disappointed that Michail Antonio will be unavailable to unsettle a slowing central defensive partnership at the heart of the Chelsea defence next Monday evening.

The manager believes suspended Antonio would have proved a real handful for Gary Cahill and David Luiz who aren’t the quickest across the ground.

Now, however, he will be relying on Andy Carroll being fit for the game which could see the Hammers closing in or maintaining a run of form they hope can help them into a top eight finishing position.

ClaretandHugh was told Carroll was “certain” to be available for the game but he can’t possibly be at peak match fitness after failing to appear since the game against Southampton at the beginning of the month.

And that leaves manager Bilic with just Jonathon Callieri and forgotten man Ashley Fletcher as options as support strikers

Calleri has made little impact in his various appearances as sub whilst Fletcher failed to make the squad on Saturday at Watford and hasn’t been seen since an appearance against Manchester City on February 1.

We were told: “Michail would have been key to the Chelsea match and could have proved a proper handful for Luiz and Cahill with his pace as neither of them are the quickest.

“It’s a big blow and presents the manager with an issue which will need some creative thinking!”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • ironswatch says:

    need to win the midfield battle in this one first need players that can get about the pitch

    Obiang Noble and Kouyate in front of the back 4 really stop them playing and plzeeee start Lenzini in behind the striker

    I would go 4-5-1

  • johnham1 says:

    If it is one striker up top it cant be Carroll, Carroll is a top striker when he has a partner so for me I would love to see Calleri given a chance, this lad has something – he has a lot more about him than fletcher. Chelsea is a big game but we will never know how good he is if we don’t give him a chance. So Calleri in a 4-5-1 or Carroll and Calleri in a 3-5-2.

  • danielson79 says:

    I think ive been watching a different calleri.

  • hammersmiff says:

    Callieri – ‘this lad has something’, so far I think it’s been a very long and nasty bout of the flu! I’m with you on this one Daniel………

  • Dunlopilo says:

    I would start with Ayew in attacking position. Lanzini behind him.Then Kouyate and Feghouli next to Obiang and Noble. Back four with Byram or Arbeloa. What have we got to lose ?

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Here’s a radical idea, put our slowest player up top as a lone striker like we normally do (Noble), put Kouyate who can tackle with Obiang in central midfield, put Byram who can tackle at right back, our best shot stopper Adrian in goal he will be busy (just hope they don’t have too many corners), play a 4 1 4 1 formation where Lanzini is the 1 in between midfield and defence the midfield are told to look backwards as well as forwards and support their defenders, if we were really radical we could swap out Noble for Ayew and try the occaisional quick(ish) counter attack. Feghouli and Snodgrass are in the wide positions because both are pretty decent at helping their defenders out. If we get a draw in this game it will be a point worthy of respect, this chelsea team are a lot better than the one we played so well against in the cup. Without Carroll it is unlikely we will get much joy from crosses so we should look to be as direct as possible when we have the chance if you do that against Chelsea they tend to make professional fouls and collect bookings so you never know with a brave referee they might get a player sent off giving us a better chance of points.

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