Another solid defensive performance from West Ham on Wednesday has given the team a solid foundation to build on, the results against Arsenal and Chelsea and the performance against Manchester City gave the fans some reasons for cautious optimism. Moyes is a pragmatist, the tactics against Arsenal and Chelsea demonstrated that, but with the attacking players in the team West Ham do still carry a threat. West Ham face a struggling Stoke team this Saturday and face a different sort of challenge. I don’t think West Ham can set up in exactly the same way as they have against Arsenal and Chelsea, they will have more of the ball and it will be interesting to see how Moyes can set them up to be perhaps more progressive.
The intensity of the last two games and the upcoming fixture congestion may see us change the line-up, Reid will be suspended but we have able deputies in either Collins or Rice, I would imagine Moyes may change either Arnautovic or Antonio, but I think he may swap out Antonio as Arnautovic will be fired up against his former team.
I think we may see Lanzini deployed higher up the pitch just behind Hernandez who looked hungry in his cameo against Arsenal. West Ham have to keep this run going, Stoke are short of confidence and the locals are getting restless with Hughes. West Ham must start positively and on the front foot, Hernandez must work hard upfront supported by Lanzini and Arnautovic, West Ham will have options from the bench with Antonio and Carroll. You can feel the momentum building slowly and people are even starting to get behind the manager, the team are at last giving the fans something to cheer about, the effort and desire shown by the team has to stay, that based on the undoubted talent should see us over the line. West Ham have some belief back and it’s great to see, it will be a relief to stop watching the games through my fingers!