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Haller dilemma tops list as Moyes takes over

CandH’s new blogger Ali Cairns has taken an in depth look at the Hammers problem areas as David Moyes takes over for the second times and reckons he has four big issues to solve – starting with how he deploys £45 million striker Seb Haller to greater effect



Eighteen months is a very long time in the Premier League.

Rewind to August 2018, and if someone had told you that by the end of 2019, both European finals would have been contended by four English teams, Sheffield United would be challenging for a Champion’s League position, and Poch and Emery had both been sacked, you’d be surprised.

But betting that David Moyes would end the decade as West Ham manager would probably have brought you similar odds to Shergar winning the National in 2020.

Renewed purpose comes with renewed challenges. The squad landscape has shifted since Moyes was relieved of his duties last time out, and whilst some of the same challenges remain, other, newer dilemmas will present themselves sooner rather than later

The Haller dilemma: Everyone and his brother know that Haller is top drawer. We all saw it on the You Tube highlights of last season(!), we saw it on Europa League nights, then we saw it again in August.

So, what went wrong? The common assumption is that he can’t play up front on his own, leading to the next question of how or when is Moyes going to play two up front? It’s more complex than that however, and many English pundits have automatically fallen into the height trap; namely that good service for Haller should be coming from the wings and mainly in the air.

Haller’s strength, however, comes on the floor as part of a fast attacking unit with great link up play. To get Haller ticking he needs to be close to another attacker, sure; but that attacker as part as a swift counter attacking team, could easily be Anderson, Lanzini or even Masuaku, as much as pushing Antonio up front.

Think of Haller’s best game as more similar to Arnie’s best game and we’re getting closer to the £45M dangerman we all hoped to see. Treating him like a rich man’s Carroll will just result in a 10 goal tally (and no assists) come the end of May.

Seeing what Moyes did with Arnie gives me hope we’ll get the ball down through the middle and break quickly rather than trying to pass it sluggishly around some of the best defenders on the planet while they take a breather before picking off the weak link pass and running up the field and scoring against us.

The Snodgrass dilemma: Moyes is a massive Snoddy fan. We all remember he tried to recall him from the Villa loan with no joy, but was already making future plans for a squad with Snodgrass in when he was unceremoniously fired in 2018.

Snoddy has shown since that he will run his heart off for the badge (although more last season than this one), but has lacked consistency this season, with poor short range passing, declining pace and less tracking back. It will be interesting to see whether Moyes former enthusiasm for the Scotsman is equalled going into 2020.

The defensive dilemma: Nobody has been talking about this, largely because of poor overall team displays, but in my view, we have three top notch centre backs in the General, Diop and Ogbonna. With Reid on the way back and with Rice as emergency cover we’re not short either.

Whilst changing to three/five at the back for Bournemouth could be risky, most fans are pretty sure that this is the formation we’ll default to against better opposition. With wing backs comes the need for pace, pretty much hammering the final nail into Zaba’s coffin and casting further doubt over Cresswell’s ability to get up and down the flanks.

The Latin dilemma: Manuel’s leather manager’s chair was still warm by the time rumours started leaking out about a cultural rift in the dressing room which had gone unchecked by the management hierarchy that introduced the latin style of football to the London stadium.

There were clear high points last season, many underpinned by some stunning performances by Anderson, but Moyes will have his work cut out just bringing the dressing room together in the short run, as well as making Anderson and Lanzini track back when a play breaks down.

With the transfer window looming, a delicate balancing act must be played to keep, then harness, the more talented members of the squad. Make no mistake; they haven’t been playing well because of the manager, formation and tactics, all of which have led to a poor attitude that has been permitted (and therefore promoted) by Pellegrini for months on end.

The kids dilemma:Having stated that he admires the Red Bull clubs’ model of building through youth having studied it closely in his recent UEFA work, there will be at least some expectation from the fans that Holland, Grady, Cullen, to name but three, will get their chance under Moyes’ second tenure. Most fans will be watching what happens with the U23 players as soon as we lose more than one game in a row. Moyes needs to decide whether to risk the kids now, or when we’re closer to 38 points. For me I’d recall Cullen, give Holland a start or two, and let Grady see the season out at WBA rather than warming the bench for Haller.


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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 “Haller dilemma tops list as Moyes takes over

  1. Got to give moyles a chance. Making protests is like shooting yourself in the foot.lets all get behind the club.

  2. I see links to players like Giroud (no pace) and Allen (too old and light for the PL and no power). If these are the players we are hoping to add to the squad then Moyes needs to be kicked out now. We need power and pace into the team without sacrificing technical ability. Fredericks is an example of a terrible signing, has pace but no technical ability, btw he needs to drop Fredericks for Zaba. We need to start recruiting the right players, Roberto, Fredericks, Sanchez, Yarmolenko, Wilshere, Ajeti have been simply terrible signings that have stalled our progress. Signings like Fab, Diop, Anderson and Haller have been the correct additions. Need to now add some younger proven players with pace and power and technical ability. For me a RB, CM, and either a striker/winger is needed in the Jan window. But please no more cheap options, no more spending money on older players who are basically either past it or no longer have that real desire.

    • Precisely, it shows a clear problem with our scouting system if for 15m, the best midfielder we can find is Joe Allen, who’s not good enough for Championship relegation-threatened Stoke. Even more so when Moyes wants an athletic, aggressive midfielder – Allen couldn’t be further from that if he tried!

    • Can we at least give Ajeti a proper chance in a functioning team please before we start labeling him as a rubbish signing. We don’t know what a lot of our players are going to be like under Moyes. But we will finally get a team that will give 100% on the field and a formation that will suit the players in the team.

  3. Jonham, who has suggested these players? Was it Moyes or some random newspaper comment? He ain’t even started yet but you are calling for him to be chucked out. The sort of players we need are just as you say but every other club also needs these type of players. Unfortunately we aren’t a very appealing proposition at the moment so how do we attract said players? What would make them sign for us when every good side in the Prem would probably be courting them?
    We have to be realistic and accept we are more or less starting again from scratch. It is very rare to find one really good player for sale in the January window, but you want a minimum of 3. Ain’t gonna happen. Might have to use some u23’s, which could be a revelation. Who knows?
    What I do know is having hugely unrealistic aspirations usually leads to disappointment and rancour. So let’s let the manager do his job, support the team and see where it leads for the rest of the season. We may be pleasantly surprised. COYI.

  4. Is it too much of a stretch to think he might play Anderson through the middle with Haller ?

  5. There are a lot of Young fans on here that don’t have the same memories as me . They seem to think that us old folks haven’t suffered over the many years as supporters & fans .
    West Ham United should have been a massive club since the success’s of the sixties .
    We never had the money and gave it our All . But we are in the Premiership . Don’t know what else to say after so many years of heartbreak . The dreams of over sixty year olds like me are always being destroyed … there are a lot of us that want to see some fun of winning something . There seems to be a basic disrespect of us fans of over sixty years .
    We were never a Big Club ; we have been a team in the League and nothing else . Big Money clubs have dominated for ages and West Ham have helped them by selling our best players for a profit to pay the price of being in the top flight . How many of our top players have been bought by Richer Clubs ?? . The numbers are shameful because we are a poor club … we are trying very hard to be a top club and we don’t need fans putting us down .
    The list is long and a bit horrible ; Carrick , Ferdinand , Lampard to name a few that were only looking for money . Defoe was the most horrible . I knew his father and he was disgusted with him ,,, fact .
    So let’s stop for a bit and get behind the team that youngsters still don’t understand .
    We needed to leave Upton Park because it was far too small for the fan base . We are not completely happy with the LS but that’s where with help from the fans we will build some kind of future . All we need and most importantly need is to survive in the Premiership .
    Maybe I was bit incoherent but my sentiments will never change after all my life as a HAMMERS SUPPORTER .

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