The last time these two met, West Ham gave up a late goal and could never really find any sort of way to get behind the Sheffield defense. Reverse fixture changes are needed and could impact the outcome immensely.
The Hammers and the Blades meet Friday night in what will most likely be a hostile environment at Bramall Lane. After each side getting a point the last time out both clubs will be looking to collect all three. However, West Ham might be able to find a way through if all goes to plan.
Chris Wilder’s side plays with a wide look using wing-backs and a solid back three that have defended well this season as the surprise Blades are sitting much higher up than expected. The last time out Moyes played the same style so this could be a battle of the wide backs.
Regardless if it is or not, West Ham can take advantage of a location that was missed out on the previous match. Under Pellegrini, the squad failed to get deep often and failed to take advantage of crossing situations. So far under Moyes, things have looked different and will be needed.
Looking at the heat map from the previous match on October 26th, Sheffield rarely touched the deep corners and the majority of the box. Now, that would’ve been due to the Hammer’s lack of ability in getting there but it does show an area of not weakness, but an opportunity.
With only a sample size of West Ham footage to dissect under the new Gaffer, it would seem a bit ambitious to over jump to conclusions but in the past two matches, the Hammers new-look attack has punished the opposition from the corners and in the box.
Now, this is all based on the fact that Moyes’s Hammers line up the same way and chose to attack the same way… but isn’t playing armchair manager fun? This open area that the Blades haven’t had to focus on will be vacant and not really in the scouting manual yet but can the key players do it?
Clearly the getting wide part will rely on the play of the Hammers wing backs of defensive backs but it will also rely on Felipe Anderson playing free and getting open either in the box or outside. Additionally, Sebastien Haller will have to keep getting free in the box and ready to the cross.
This might seem like a lot of “what if’s” but in all honesty, many teams have struggled to get past this stout Blades backline. If West Ham can get around them either through pace or the long ball and get open deep behind the backline they can easily unhinge this defense.
So far we have seen David Moyes and his West Ham squads do their research and prepare for the opposition. If they have, and it seems like they will then this simple solution could be the key to getting three points in the reverse fixture. Until then, COME ON YOU IRONS!