It’s time to return to European competition with the Greek side Olympiacos heading to London to face the Hammers.
2 weeks ago West Ham lost 2-1 to Olympiacos in Grease, where the champions made it a difficult night. Can West Ham push on after a poor loss to Brentford, and play like they did against Arsenal the fixture before?
Since the two sides had their first meeting, ending 2-1, the Greek side suffered a thumping 4-2 defeat to PAOK. This came as a shock to fans, as their side were dominated for the majority of the game, scoring their 2 goals within the last 5 minutes. They are now sat 4 points from top in the Greek Super league. So can Moyes capitalise on their turbulent form?
Which play style?
Moyes has a choice to either sit back and counter, or play with more presence and push up the pitch. In the first fixture, Moyes opted to dominate the play. This didn’t work too well for the Hammers as 62% possession resulted in a pitiful 3 shots on target. So far this season it seems the more of the ball we have, the less we do with it. In our wins against Arsenal, Chelsea and Brighton, we average around 30% of the possession. During this little time on the ball, we operate with a fast counter-attack, driven by accurate passing, wide runs and clinical finishing. It sounds strange, however Moyes may see a better result if he opts to sit back, invite pressure and then pounce to score goals.
Bowen and Kudus, The dream team:
In the last few weeks Kudus has looked like the promising player he was at Ajax. During the 3 games we’ve played since the first fixture against Olympiacos, Both Kudus and Bowen have scored two goals each. They are both on-form and undoubtably deserve a spot in the starting line up. The only question is, where? Kudus needs to play as the 10. His clever runs open up space for the 9, his passing links up the forward play, and his runs wide are very important if we hope to play a counter attack system. So where does Bowen play? That’s the harder one for Moyes to work out. Bowen has looked great as a number 9, bagging plenty of goals. But that leaves two wide players missing and not a lot of talent to fill them. This “problem” makes me excited to see the starting line up come Thursday night.
More of the same?
West Ham have suffered two disappointing defeats as of late, one to Brentford but an even more bitter one to Everton. It’s funny to think that our only win in the last few games has come against Arsenal. However Olympiacos are a side characterised by Hard work, physicality and moments of magic against better teams on paper. Who does this sound like the most? Brentford and Everton. Of course tactically they are worlds apart, the trend is that West Ham are struggling to beat teams with “lesser talent”, those teams who rely on grid, determination and a one goal lead. Could the footballing philosophy the Greeks carry grab them a result, even away from home?
I can see this game going very different to the first game. The Greek fans are known for creating a hostile environment for away teams, and the Hammers felt the full force of that a few weeks ago. I can see the lack of support causing Olympiacos to crumble, leading to a West Ham win. Im going with 3-0, a convincing West Ham win, and with it two goals for Kudos, and a goal from fan favourite Bowen. Come on you Hammers!
Want your voice heard? Join the Green Street Hammers team!