Position by position, David Moyes has decisions to make for West Ham’s team against Chelsea. He needs to step outside of his comfort zone and be bold.
I don’t count on that happening and think West Ham will line up similarly to how they did against Spurs, simply because David Moyes *thinks* he knows what is best. He doesn’t, though, and it’s becoming scary for supporters everywhere.
Where he’s been predictable, he’s needed to be bold. Where he’s chosen old, he should have picked young; plain and simple Moyes has got just about everything wrong. Here is a position by position breakdown of how the Hammers should line up against Chelsea.
Keeper and Defenders
There aren’t a ton of decisions to make here, especially at keeper. Lukasz Fabianski hasn’t been at fault for any goals against and should keep his spot. Randolph and Martin are fine backup choices, but Fabianski is still elite and our best bet between the wickets.
At right-back, it’s a coinflip between Ryan Fredericks and Ben Johnson but you need to see what Johnson can do in his natural position with Jeremy Ngakia now gone from the club. Fredericks has been fine, but he isn’t the solution moving forward. Now is the time for Johnson to step up.
At centre-back, reunite Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop. Ogbonna was good enough to be on the bench against Spurs so with a week and a day off he should be good to start. Diop played poorly against Spurs but was fine against Spurs. Balbuena is ready for rotation use, too.
Cresswell is unchallenged at the moment. He scored our goal of the season at Stamford Bridge and has been solid all season, especially with the drop off of Arthur Masuaku. I’d bring Masuaku on the bench, but Cresswell should be the starter.
More from Green Street Hammers - West Ham
In a 4-4-2, which I presume Moyes will try to play some variation of, the right players need to be picked in every position to maximize the effectiveness of attacking width and that begins and sends with Jarrod Bowen on the right side. He’s responsible enough to get back in time, but also isn’t afraid to jump into the attack.
On the left, it should be Pablo Fornals‘ position to lose, and he shouldn’t be used as a left-back when the opposition has the ball. Track the fullback, but stay forward as an option gambling on offence and possession quelling the Chelsea attack.
Centrally, it’s Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek who should be selected, our best midfield options by a long shot. Jack Wilshere would be first off the bench as well as, yes, over Mark Noble. Both Rice and Soucek should stay holding and bail out the fullbacks and wide midfielders on defensive coverage, with Soucek being the most advanced of the duo.
Alongside whoever starts (and it seems Haller won’t now), it needs to be Xande Silva up top for the Hammers. Moyes is believed to not trust Silva or Albian Ajeti in a relegation battle, but the truth is, he shouldn’t have any other choices. Michail Antonio needs to come off the bench and Anderson isn’t a striker.
If Haller isn’t going to be risked against Chelsea, which I suppose makes sense with another match looming against Newcastle, Silva should be paired with Andriy Yarmolenko up top. Yarmolenko isn’t afraid to shoot from range and is technically skilled, plus he’s tall, offering a perfect foil for Silva’s speed.
Johnson – Diop – Ogbonna – Cresswell
Bowen – Rice – Soucek – Fornals
Yarmolenko – Silva
Bench: Randolph, Fredericks, Masuaku, Noble, Coventry, Wilshere, Antonio, Anderson, Ajeti.
I have no belief this team is what we’ll see against Chelsea. Moyes is stuck in his ways, of which I don’t totally understand. The team will be set up to collapse back as soon as Chelsea get the ball, and we’ll be too defensively invested to catch them out for offence. It’s more than time for a change, but we won’t get it.