Controversial but Correct? West Ham’s Best XI

West Ham attackers Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, and Lucas Paqueta. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
West Ham attackers Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, and Lucas Paqueta. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) /

With Premier League action returning very soon, there are some serious decisions to be made over who starts and who plays where in the XI. David Moyes has to change something up with his West Ham squad, and perhaps an unused combo of elite attackers is what this team needs.

If you’ve watched any of West Ham under David Moyes you are quite familiar with his ever-present 4-2-3-1 formation. Why does he use this formation almost exclusively? Well, because despite its construction it can devolve into an extremely defensive formation.

Unorthodox? Sure. Unlikely? Most definitely. Exciting? No doubt about it. West Ham need a spark and a change to formation could provide that.

How so? Well, the two wide attacking midfielders essentially become wingbacks and one of the holding midfielders becomes a pass-heavy centre-back. This means Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma are now defenders and Declan Rice is a ball-playing centre-back.

With a formation consisting of Fabianski, Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma, and Scamacca, David Moyes has a wealth of talented players, but forcing them into a defensive formation and playstyle limits their effectiveness.

The solution is a top-heavy attacking formation that plays West Ham’s best players in their best positions. This means two committed wingers to support Gianluca Scamacca up top and a fourth attacker who free-roams and allows Lucas Paqueta to sit deeper within the middle of the pitch.

With a fully fit and healthy team here is West Ham’s best XI and team:


Kehrer – Zouma – Aguerd – Cresswell

Rice – Benrahma – Paqueta

Bowen – Scamacca – Antonio

Bench: Areola, Johnson, Ogbonna, Emerson, Soucek, Lanzini, Downes, Fornals, Cornet

This team is definitely more attacking, and so should it be. West Ham are coming off of a terrific Europa League run where they played great football for the entire season, aboard as well as domestically. This great play was backed in the transfer market over the summer with attacking stars being brought in, so it’s time to start using them more appropriately.

The biggest changes in this team include Paqueta sitting beside Rice in the midfield, Benrahma being shifted centrally where he can roam and create where he sees fit, and Antonio being a left-winger where he can use his pace with his back to the sideline to turn defenders and push put pressure on opposition defences.

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Now, do I think we’ll ever see this team in reality? No chance, however, if Kevin Nolan suggests it’s a 4-4-2 with Antonio and Scamacca up top, there may be a real shot of it being deployed. It’s fun to hypothesize about this team because the talent is there for some fun formation ideas, but something has to change in the second half of the season, direly so.