Burnley started with the 4 5 1 that they have been using for most of this season to great effect, this changed to a 6 3 1 when they defended as the full backs dropped in as two extra centre backs with the wingers covering in their place. When they lost the ball every player except Chris Wood was behind the ball and they were keeping a very tight shape. While when they attacked they tended to hit long balls towards Wood who was deployed as a traditional target man whose job was too hold the ball up and await support from the midfield. Jeff Hendrick tended to be the most advanced midfielder and he was the closest to Wood trying to benefit from his knockdowns.
West Ham went with a 4 4 2, the first time they had used this system from a start this season. Fonte and Reid are quickly becoming Slaven’s preferred partnership at the back and both fullbacks were instructed to push high up the pitch to take advantage of the deep defensive block Burnley were using. Kouyate was not given much license to roam forwards instead he was constricted to staying back while the more creative Lanzini was given a free role to roam and prod at Burnley’s defence with the quality of his passing. The two widemen were not your traditional winger as Arnautovic always tried to cut inside when he had the ball instead of trying to get on the outside and supply crosses, while Antonio was almost a 3rd striker (his goal is an example of how narrow he was). Carroll before he got stupidly sent off was supposed to act as a target man who West Ham could use when under pressure to hold up the ball and annoy the defenders with his aerial threat while Chicharto once again found himself isolated and drifting out of the game for long periods due to a lack of support. His frustration led to him dropping deep numerous times to start attacks by himself and he was wasted outside the box.
The first goal was down to a lack of defensive organization by Burnley rather than a passage of good play or individual brilliance. They were caught out by a long kick from Joe Hart which bypassed their midfield and caught their defence napping. The area highlighted in red is where the midfielders should have been yet they are at the halfway line struggling to get back, even if the ball had been intercepted by the Burnley defenders they would still have been outnumbered and exposed. The left back Stephen Ward should’ve been marking Antonio yet as you can see he was about 10 metres behind him which left Antonio completely free to run on to the ball. The center backs were also at fault because they were not on the same line, had Mee been on the same line as Tarkowski Antonio would have been caught offside. The arrow showed where Antonio eventually ran too and after that he had the easiest task in the world.
This is the first phase of the Burnley goal, Brady had the ball on the wing were he looked harmless due to him being marked by 2 players yet somehow he evaded both with ease and put a ball in which led to a goal. Antonio should have gotten tighter to him instead of leaving Cresswell to deal with him. Also should have been where the red line is in order to cover Cresswell and prevent the ball from going in.
Then once again the West Ham defenders suffering from crosses into the box and struggling to deal with them. The two Burnley players judged the flight of the ball and went for it while the West ham defenders were rooted to the spot, Wood managed to get into the half space between the two central defenders and score.
One of the better performances I have seen from West Ham this season considering the circumstances (Carroll’s red card). Yet some bad tactical decisions and a lack of defensive organization cost us once again. We had no clear gameplan which often led to players doing what they liked out of frustration, Chicharito was stuck on the left wing for most of the game in an attempt to get the ball and was completely isolated after the sending off. We tried to lump balls forward to him yet he was aerially outclassed every time. He is a poacher, an out and out goalscorer. Any fool would know that he is most dangerous in the box (all his PL goals have been inside the box) if he gets the service he will score every time. Also once again a lack of defensive organization from crosses cost us, Fonte is starting to look like the player he was but our defence still do not act as one unit. The cohesion and understanding between them is not there and for our sake I hope they find it quick.