Which Formation Should David Moyes Turn To First?

Tactics

The appointment of a brand-new Hammers Boss in veteran Scotsman David Moyes will surely bring a fresh tactical approach to West Ham United, but with such a variant of different systems and formations possible within The Squad, which one will he adopt?

Today, we attempt to answer that question as unpredictable as it may be and take a look back at his predecessor’s tactics plus, of course, Moyes’ own previous style of Football.

Many will remember the final 12 months of Slaven Bilic’s topsy-turvy spell at the reigns in East London, the entourage of different formations that were used add up to a huge sum, prompting some to joke that The Croat was picking his team out of a hat before each match.

It goes without saying that this is a slight exaggeration, however, everything from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 seemed to be utilised by Bilic at some point.

In his first season at Upton Park, incidentally, The Ground’s last, the former Besiktas Boss opted mainly for a popular 4-2-3-1 system, allowing for a standard defence, with two holding midfielders, three wandering ones In front of them to support a lone striker.

But, as injuries hit and versatile players such as Michail Antonio became more regular starters, a bizarre 4-1-4-1 was tried, with the severity of the crisis forcing the likes of James Tomkins and Mauro Zarate out wide.

As the Squad regained its fitness in the spring, another change was made, a 4-3-3 formation, forcing Antonio to right-back, playing Manuel Lanzini deeper and Dimitri Payet further forward.

The season was predominately finished with a more simple 4-4-2 formation, notice the lack of consistency but with effective results, while the miss-match of formations would continue, the good results wouldn’t.

For the start of his second campaign at the club, Bilic, again warped by injuries from a tactical standpoint started with a 4-3-3, before again moving back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

But, soon after, Bilic decided to experiment with a three at the back system largely for the first time during his spell, comprising of a trio of centre-backs and both full-backs being used further up the field of play.

Along with the 4-2-3-1, it was then the formation of choice for the rest of an up and down first campaign at The London Stadium, as playing personnel changed dramatically in the summer.

The fluctuating tactics didn’t, predominantly used at the start of this season has been a 3-4-3 formation, with the utilisation of Pablo Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell as wing-backs and the rest of the pitch flooded with attackers.

When this system failed to produce results, David Gold and David Sullivan pulled the plug on Slaven Bilic, but there was another aspect of his tactical game that he was scrutinized for perhaps even more than formations, player positioning.

While, the five or three at the back yielded some attackers to be used on the right, none more infamous than Antonio, who was also tried at right-back in the earlier days.

Also, uncharacteristically placed on the right were midfielders Edimilson Fernandes and Cheikhou Kouyate, while the notion of Mark Noble playing there was considered along with several centre-backs.

Kouyate also frequently popped up in the centre of defence, Lanzini in almost every position aside up from there and marquee signing Javier Hernandez on the wing.

This is one thing that many believe is due to change under Moyes, Pundits also feel that the former Manchester United man will also bring toying with formations to an end, deciding on just one early on.

At his various previous clubs, Moyes has tended to opt for a 4-3-3 system, which started whilst with Preston North End, although at The Toffees he was inclined to a 4-4-1-1 system, reliant on his tight defence.

His systems at Old Trafford and in Spain with Real Sociedad were similar, while with Sunderland Moyes preferred to pack the midfield to support a usually lone striker in Jermain Defoe.

However, on his latest venture in Stratford, we expect him to side with tradition using the players that are available at his disposal, once everyone is fit and firing, his line-up will, in all likelihood, look something like this:


So, now that you have been given the tactical lowdown on our new Gaffer and the side he may well put out at Vicarage Road in just over a week, do you agree with us? Think he will layout the team slightly differently? Get in contact with us via Twitter to join the debate @MooreThanAClub.