How Much Will West Ham’s Playstyle Change with Lopetegui In Charge?

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57-year-old Spanish football manager Julen Lopetegui is officially set to become the new head coach of English Premier League side West Ham on July 1, 2024.

The former Wolves boss will take over from David Moyes after his contract ends, which the club chose not to extend. The question being asked here is, how much will West Ham’s playstyle change with Lopetegui in charge? Let’s dive straight in to find out.

Will West Ham’s style of play change when Lopetegui takes the reins?

West Ham fans often criticised David Moyes for his indecisiveness and negative style of play and now hope that Lopetegui’s more aggressive style of play will give the team more passion and drive to compete in one of the world’s most brutal top-tier men’s professional football leagues.

However, some fans have said that Moyes and Lopetegui’s playing styles are similar and have even questioned why club chiefs would appoint this type of manager.

His appetite for a more progressive style of play everyone talks about was more apparent in his brief spells in a managerial or coaching role in Spain at Sevilla and less apparent during his six-month tenure in the Premier League at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

However, others argue that when he arrived at Wolves, the club was in a difficult position and a different playstyle approach was needed.

When he took over from Gary O’Neil and managed his first game in December 2023, Wolves were five points adrift from the relegation zone. By the end of the 2023/24 campaign, he had moved them into 14th (out of 20 teams) and had achieved an impressive eight wins.

He managed to tighten up Wolve’s defence, and in seven of those eight victories, they didn’t concede a goal. What’s more incredible is that during his time at Wolves, his win percentage as a manager was the best in Premier League history.

Can West Ham finish in the top four under Lopetegui?

If you think that West Ham have a good shot of finishing in the top 4 by the end of the 2024/25 campaign and want to place a wager on this particular market, don’t forget that you can find the most competitive odds right now and bet on Premier League on, provided you are at least 18.

It’s one of the world’s most trusted online bookmakers with thousands of monthly EPL betting markets, and at the time of writing, for West Ham to finish in the top four, you are currently looking at odds of around 14/1 in the fractional odds format.

14/1 is the same as saying 15.00 in decimal odds and +1,400 in American/moneyline odds, but these long odds mean that West Ham (aka The Hammers) only have a 6.7% implied probability rate of finishing next season in the top four. In comparison, they only have a 0.40% chance of winning the league outright.

West Ham may take time to get used to Lopetegui’s new playstyle, or they could quickly adjust. We will have to wait and see whether his new tactics have a positive effect.

They finished ninth in the table last season under Moyes, and the new head coach will be hoping for an even higher finish by the end of next season.

Which key players will make the difference this year?

West Ham has a great squad, and Lopetegui might be the perfect manager to get them all performing at their highest level. Some of the key players West Ham will be pinning their hopes on next season are the following:

  • Lucas Paqueta – midfielder
  • Kalvin Phillips – midfielder
  • Lukasz Fabianski – goalkeeper
  • Michail Antonio – forward
  • Jarrod Bowen – forward
  • Edon Alvarez – midfielder
  • Vladimir Coufal – defender
  • Tomas Soucek – midfielder
  • James Ward-Prowse – midfielder

That’s not forgetting midfielder Mohammed Kudus, defenders Angelo Ogbonna, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell, and Emerson Palmieri, and forwards Danny Ings and Divin Mubama, to name a few.

Final thoughts

Fans will hope that Lopetegui will turn West Ham into a more fluid passing side with better communication, something they seemed to lack on more than one occasion last season.

He will focus on maintaining possession and use a more aggressive style off the ball to win back possession.

He will likely play with a 4-3-3 formation with a slightly higher defensive line, and the two full-backs will need to push out wider to give more depth and plenty of open space to play.

West Ham’s first game of the 2024/25 EPL season is at home on August 17 when they play Aston Villa at 17:30. In their next few fixtures, they play Crystal Palace away on August 24, Manchester City at home on August 31, and then Fulham away on September 14.

Image Source: Pixabay

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