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Drama…uncertainty and the need to dominate

By Max Willow

Amidst all the drama and uncertainty we now face the harsh reality of  two games that will surely decide  Slaven Bilic’s fate.

If we have any hope of beating Spurs tomorrrow evening , several important aspects of our play require drastic and urgent revision.

The first relates to consolidating a formation with solidity in midfield and scoring potential in attack.


I have suggested the use of the 4-4-2 (diamond) formation . While some pundits view this formation as being a little ‘old-hat’, it has the advantages of being easy for all players to embrace, and if used correctly, it is very balanced.

 In recent games, some of our U-23’s have been in sparkling form, and for this reason, I believe they deserve their chances for a call-up into the first team. Tony Martinez has been scoring regularly, and could be considered for some playing time up-front, particularly if there are still doubts concerning the recurrence of Diafra Sakho’s back injury.

Martinez is strong with both feet and could be a real surprise packet for the Spurs defence whilst Haskabanovic and Holland are both fast, and like Martinez, can play off either foot. In the diamond midfield structure, they could play in central midfield positions (‘narrow diamond’), or alternatively, play out wide, in a more offensive mode.

Either way, they would be required to move regularly between the central and wider channels to prevent a central hole from emerging between Lanzini (CAM) and Declan Rice/Mark Noble (CDM) in the defensive midfield position.

Adrian will be expected to be restored and the back four would allow for the inclusion of overlapping left and right backs, respectively.

If we are to compete in any meaningful way, the first 15 minutes are of critical importance. During this period, we must attempt to grab the initiative, with fast diagonal passing, and meaningful running into open positions-pass, pass, and dominate!

Starting West Ham Line-Up (Subs-included); Adrian; Cresswell/Masuaku, Ogbonna/Fonte, Reid, Zabaleta/Byram; Rice/Noble, Haksabanovic, Lanzini, Antonio/Holland; Sakho/Martinez, Chicharito/Martinez.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

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

8 comments on “Drama…uncertainty and the need to dominate

  1. I have this sinking feeling that if we get results over the next two games the board will think everything is rosy in the camp and will stick with bilic until the end of the season.

  2. Cant see slaven playing byram, haksabanovic, rice, holland, martinez or sakho any time soon let alone all on the same pitch.

  3. Max there’s no width in that formation..I think that’s what is needed for tomorrow…

    • Hi, hi..
      I understand what you mean, but we can get more width if the LAM & RAM’s are prepare to move laterally when required.

  4. Antonio is definitely not playing according to Slav as he bruised his ribs. If Spuds are putting out their kids which they most likely will I would play Adrian, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Rice, Byram, Haksabanovic, Noble, Obiang, Holland, Lanzini and Sakho. I.e. a very youthful team to match the spuds, rumour has it Dembele may be starting which could cause our inept central midfield a few issues. Basically though I don’t think other than Zabaletta and Masuaku any of the players that played against Brighton should be in the team, they should feel as humiliated as those of us that paid to watch the match.

    • I can empathize with your feelings, but I thought Zabaleta was probably the only player who really tried.
      Masuaku’s performance was puzzling; it seemed to me, that he was caught in thought-wondering whether to break down the left flank, or cut in towards the middle with one of his dribbling runs.
      Seems like the entire team were distracted and this led, in some ways, to our disorganized play.
      Hang in there mate!

  5. Actually swap Obiang for Fernandes, he didn’t pull up any trees againstBrighton either.

    • No worries..
      Fernandes would be a good choice..
      I am waiting for him to really develop into a top quality player (under the right management)

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