Can Moyes Pull a Rabbit Out of His Hat in Leverkusen?


West Ham United have travelled to Germany for their Europa League clash against Bayer Leverkusen with a team riddled with injuries and a squad stretched thin. Here’s why David Moyes faces a monumental task:

Moyes’ limited options force a potential shift to a 3-4-2-1 formation to mirror Leverkusen’s setup. However, this creates a defensive conundrum. While Zouma and Mavrapanos certain starters, the third centre-back slot is a gamble. Cresswell, despite a lack of recent game time, might get the nod over the potentially pace-matching Aguerd. Moyes seems to be prioritising experience over freshness, a risky strategy against an in-form Leverkusen attack.

Full-Back Woes

Emerson’s presence at left wing-back is undisputed, but the right side is a question mark. Coufal’s recent inconsistency raises concerns, while Johnson offers more pace. Will Moyes stick with experience or gamble on Johnson’s speed?

The Midfield Minefield

Injuries leave Moyes with a potentially disastrous midfield pairing of Soucek and Ward-Prowse. While both are decent players, their lack of pace and mobility is a major worry against Leverkusen’s dynamic attack. The absence of the out-of-sorts Phillips offers no alternative solution.

Attacking Talent Won’t Win It Alone

The attacking trio of Paqueta, Kudus, and Antonio has the potential to cause problems. However, Soucek and Ward-Prowse might be forced into a defensive shell, leaving Antonio isolated upfront. Furthermore, Antonio’s waning stamina raises questions about his effectiveness over the entire match.

West Ham’s patched-up defence and midfield scream trouble. Moyes needs a tactical masterclass to contain Leverkusen and create attacking opportunities. His ability to squeeze surprising results out of a limited squad will be tested to the extreme. Can he pull off a rabbit out of the hat and secure an upset victory or indeed a more than welcome scrappy draw?

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