Only three managers have managed more games in the Premier League than David Moyes and those esteemed men are Arsène Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Redknapp. That’s pretty respectable company, so forgive West Ham fans for expecting a miraculous & instant turnaround.
In his 500th match as a Premier League manager and first in charge of West Ham, David Moyes was bested by PL newbie, Marco Silva. The East London club fell succumb to a 2-0 defeat away at Vicarage Road. Goals from Will Hughes and Richarlison handed Moyes his first defeat in charge of the Hammers.
David Moyes is no stranger to the Premier League, but his reputation has never been under so much scrutiny than it is now. The Hammers currently find themselves in the relegation zone, with only 9 points to their name.
Here are 3 tactical lessons we learnt from David Moyes first game in charge of West Ham.
Instead of using a no.10, the Scotsman tried to implement a tactic that relies on both Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate constantly joining the attack. Although Kouyate found himself in several goalscoring opportunities, his poor technical ability saw him waste those chances. Now imagine if it had been CAM Manuel Lanzini in those situations.
Since Dimitri Payet left to return home, sole creative responsibilities have been heaped onto the shoulders of Manuel Lanzini. However, instead of using him in his natural position of CAM, Moyes decided to shaft him out onto the wing. As expected, the Argentine refused to stay wide, often cutting in, rendering the tactic useless.
Reliance on Width & a Target Man
Fundamentally, David Moyes tried to tackle West Ham’s poor run of form by reverting back to the good old tactic of high and wide; kick it long, work it wide and try to win a header in the box. The 6 foot plus Andy Carroll was chosen in place of the smaller more nimble Javier Hernandez, just for this tactic.
Carroll was clearly deployed to be Moyes’ focal point of attack, his job was to win headers, lay it off to the full-backs and run back into the box in anticipation of a cross. Just to back that up, the 28-year-old won 9 aerials throughout the game, as he battered the Watford defence aerially. Despite all that, Carroll only managed 1 shot on target.
David Moyes’ reliance on width will only work if he has the right personnel. Marco Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini as wingers are not the types of wide forwards who will diligently produce crosses all game. They’d rather come inwards to connect and be narrow.
Favours the 4-3-3
In a league where nearly every team plays 3 at the back, it’s almost refreshing to see a manager buck that trend. Unfortunately for the Scotsman, the formation proved to be ineffective. A standard back four, fused with a hard-working midfield three and topped up by a robust front three made up West Ham’s lacklustre 4-3-3.
If deployed right, the 4-3-3 can apply much offensive pressure on the opposing team, especially on the counter-attack. The formation offers teams a compact midfield, with width on the wings to transition quicker. The most effective versions of this formation are deployed by ball hungry teams with a high work rate.
David’s Moyes West Ham didn’t showcase such qualities, as they laboured around the pitch, presenting Watford with several passing lanes to work into. West Ham’s 4-3-3 was loose, disjointed and poorly managed.