The left side of the West Ham formation took a big hit Thursday with the news of Arthur Masuaku being sidelined. With changes incoming, what should happen?
The news was originally broken by Arthur Masuaku himself, as the West Ham United left-back would be undergoing knee surgery to repair the pain that has been there for nearly two years. As you would imagine, that news sent Hammers fans worldwide into a frenzy with numerous questions arising. Who would take his role? That formation could David Moyes use? Can Aaron Cresswell play LB again?
It was clear and evident that West Ham did not handle the switch back to a four at the back defence against Villa two weeks ago, but given the situation, it might be the best bet going into tomorrow night’s match. Cresswell may no longer be suited for that position, but he is riding a high that can change the course of anyone’s night on the pitch.
Conventional wisdom would tell us all that the Hammers and David Moyes should and most likely will look to move to this formation, so let’s have a look. For starters, Cress isn’t the only option as Ben Johnson can also play in that role. Although it may seem harsh, dropping the veteran for the up-incoming might be the best play for the Scotsman.
West Ham should use conventional wisdom in filling Masuaku’s role.
Moving further right, the message should be brought to Vladimir Coufal that he will need to possibly stay back a bit more, which will surely impact that attacking Hammers. As the two center backs go, you shouldn’t change the duo unless Issa Diop has shown more promise than in the past few months. Now, on to what the remaining six should look like and what formation they should be in.
If the message is sent for the defence to stay back, then looking at a 4-3-3 can still give West Ham an attacking approach. If Cresswell and Coufal are to have more range in motion, then go with a 4-2-3-1. Regardless of the formation, the winning combo here should be to move Fornals to the middle and finally give Said Benharama the start he so greatly deserves. The rest should remain unchanged.
Much like Cresswell at the back, Pablo Fornals is a wildcard for the center of the pack. He’s an oddity because when he is on, he’s on. Yet when he is off the mark, he still isn’t bad; he’s frustratingly painful to watch. Looking back on the Manchester United match, there were more than enough times when he should’ve just put it away but didn’t.
You might argue that sticking with the same formation could work and replace Masuaku with Johnson, but besides the loss last week, the previous three matches (although won) weren’t the best we’ve seen in recent months. With that being said, stick with the conventional, the conservative, and use this as a way to fill the void while Arthur Masuaku recovers.