WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done

Alan 1:06 Tue Sep 7
Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United remain keen on West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice, despite deciding not to move for the 22-year-old this summer. (ESPN)

Liverpool are exploring a possible move for 24-year-old Valencia and Spain midfielder Carlos Soler, who has a £125m release clause in his contract. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp views Soler as a possible replacement for Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, 30, who joined Paris St-Germain on a free transfer this summer. (Fichajes - in Spanish)

Liverpool are also interested in 25-year-old Spain attacker Marco Asensio, who is prepared to leave Real Madrid in a bid to relaunch his career. (Todofichajes - in Spanish)

Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are all interested in Red Bull Salzburg forward Karim Adeyemi, 19, who scored on his debut for Germany on Sunday. (Bild - in German)

The agent of Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek says he held talks with Everton over a potential summer move for the 24-year-old Dutchman. (Express)

However, Van de Beek says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen for him to stay at Old Trafford after holding talks with the United boss regarding his future. (Vibe with Five)

PSG have turned their attention to AC Milan and Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie, 24, as they believe Manchester United and France star Paul Pogba, 28, would prefer a move to Real Madrid next summer. (Defensa Central - in Spanish)

Tottenham are also interested in Kessie and may be prepared to offload 24-year-old French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele as a makeweight. (Express)

Neymar earns a £465,000-per-month 'ethical bonus' due to an unusual clause in his PSG contract, with the Brazil forward, 29, having cost the French club more than £419m since his world-record transfer from Barcelona in 2017. (Mundo Deportivo via Express)

Inter Milan are working on contract extensions for Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez, 24, and Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella, also 24. (Fabrizio Romano)

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny's proposed move to Besiktas has broken down due to the 29-year-old Egypt midfielder's wage demands. Elneny, who spent the 2019-20 season loan at Besiktas, also saw a switch to Galatasaray fall through for the same reasons. (talkSPORT)

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey, 30, turned down several offers to leave Juventus over the summer as he is determined to nail down a regular starting place under Massimiliano Allegri. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Phil Foden, 21, is set to be offered a new six-year contract at Manchester City despite the England midfielder having three years left on his current deal. (Manchester Evening News)

Atletico Madrid could make a move to sign 29-year-old Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Aston Villa if Slovenia international Jan Oblak, 28, leaves the La Liga champions next summer. (La Razon - in Spanish)

France forward Antoine Griezmann, 30, took a 40% wage cut to rejoin Atletico from Barcelona this summer. (Goal)

Manchester City and PSG are two of the clubs keeping close tabs on AC Milan and France left-back Theo Hernandez, 23. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Inter Milan are interested in signing France midfielder Corentin Tolisso, 27, on a free transfer when his Bayern Munich contract expires next summer. (Tuttosport via Sempre Inter)

Daniel Sturridge scored in a behind-closed-doors friendly for Mallorca as the former England striker, 32, continues to search for a new club having been a free agent since leaving Trabzonspor in March 2020. (Mirror)

French midfielder Aliou Traore, 20, will join Parma as free agent after being released by Manchester United this summer. (Fabrizio Romano)

EPL Analysis

The Moyesiah: How David Moyes is continuing to improve West Ham in the Premier League – tactical analysis

By RDF Tactics

After David Moyes and West Ham‘s impressive display in the Premier League campaign last season (2020-21) qualifying for the UEFA Europa League group stage, many had anticipated it to be challenging to replicate that good form into the new season. Nevertheless, West Ham have started the season very strongly, and despite spending £67.05m in the summer strengthening the team, they have fielded roughly the same squad they used last season in their opening three games, with Craig Dawson being an exception.
Formation-wise not much has changed from last season. Moyes has opted to use the 4-2-3-1 that served West Ham very well during the 2020-21 campaign, and rightly so. Moyes has decided to stick with the shape and has been reward with good performances, getting two wins (4-2 away vs Newcastle & 4-0 home vs Leicester) and one draw (2-2 at home to Crystal Palace) from their opening three games.
Impressively going forward from the opening three games so far, West Ham are sitting on top of the xG table (8.15) whilst overperforming, scoring 10 goals which is the joint-most in the Premier League so far – whilst also impressing in possession, playing 15.3 passes per minute of ball possession, with only Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool able to play more passes per minute.

In this tactical analysis, we attempt to look into the reasons for West Ham’s good early start to the new season (two wins and one draw in three games) by breaking down their attacking and defensive principles.

Formations Used

So far, in all of the three Premier League games West Ham have featured in, they have started in their trusted 4-2-3-1 formation. Their team selection has been very consistent, too, with no changes to the starting line-up in any of the games.

Despite signing Alphonse Areola on a loan deal from PSG, Fabianksi has been the number 1 between the sticks, with Coufal, new singing Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell completing the back four. Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek have been the two central midfielders for the Hammers, with Saïd Benrahma, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen operating slightly further ahead with the in-from Michail Antonio the lone striker for West Ham.

Most recent West Ham line-up.

Interesting to note – in the opening game against Newcastle, Benhrama was the dedicated number 10 with Fornals playing as the narrow winger, but the two swapped roles for the next two games against Leicester and Crystal Palace. The attacking midfield trio can be a very fluid unit for the Hammers, with all three of the attacking midfielders capable of playing along those attacking midfield lines.

In Possession

From goal-kicks, West Ham’s passing directness ranges from short to long when they are trying to transition from the early build-up stage to creation, but have often used medium to long-range passing, which suits their direct playing style. Fabianski is not afraid of launching his goal-kicks long and wide to the flanks or to the physical striker Antonio, but when looking to play out and if the short option to the central defenders is too risky, Fabianksi would then look to use the full-backs as an outlet and play a mid to long pass out wide.

Whenever the goalkeeper is in possession, the two central defenders would drop deep to offer themselves as an option unless the goalkeeper signals his defence to push up for a longer kick. If the opponents look to engage with two attackers, West Ham will use a 2+1 shape (two central defenders and Rice), and if the opponents pressed with three attackers, West Ham would form a 3+1 shape with Rice dropping into the defence line and Soucek offering himself as the 1. Generally, though, West Ham tend to take the more direct approach, with 70% of their goal-kicks launched and 57.8% of Fabianski’s passes so far being launched, according to fbref.com.

Fabianski decides to play a medium-ranged pass out to the left flank as Palace looked to prevent the goalkeepers’ distribution.

The Hammers look to get the ball forward efficiently by using width and the full-backs to do so. When looking at their passing links from their most recent game against Crystal Palace (below), we can see just how heavily involved the wide-men were, especially the full-backs Cresswell and Coufal and how often the deep central players looked to get the ball out wide. It is no surprise that per 90, both of the full-backs have the most touches of the ball for West Ham, with Cresswell getting 81.3 touches and Coufal getting 78.0. Also, note that most of these touches received are between the mid and attacking third.

Working the ball wide is an attempt to break the opponent’s narrow defensive structure as it forces the defending wide player to leave their position and engage West Hams wide player on the ball. When this happens, this can create space for a West Ham attacker to sprint into the open channel, and this is how West Ham like to progress play into their creative stage.

Once West Ham have progressed to their creative phase, they look to create chances by getting the ball into the box early as possible. Often, this results in West Ham sending in a large number of early crosses to take advantage of the aerial ability that Antonio and Soucek possess. West Ham’s attacking shape does not change much from the 4-2-3-1, but we do see Soucek breaking from his central midfield position often to get inside the box when the ball is worked out wide. Though, West Ham make sure they have a rest-defence set up in order to prevent counter-attacks. Moreover, we also see the two wingers drift inside whilst the full-backs occupy the wide flanks but the wingers drifting inside is not exclusive as at times to work space for a cross, the winger and full-back may attempt to create an overload on the defending player.

So it should come as no surprise to see that West Ham have attempted the 3rd most crosses per 90 so far with 21.34 with the full-back Coufal being the largest contributor. Coufal has attempted the 4th most crosses from the right-flank per 90 in the league with 5.57. Cresswell, the opposite full-back, is ranked 9th from the left-flank with 3.4 and Benrahma has attempted 3.86 per 90 for West Ham.

The image above captures what we may expect to see when West Ham have worked the ball out wide for a crossing opportunity. Bowen (bottom right) drifts out wide with the defender choosing to follow him and, in turn, creates a hole between the left-back and left-sided central defender. Just outside the box, Rice and Benrahma have chosen to hold their position as the Hammers’ rest defence, picking up loose balls or ready to recover the ball for West Ham. Finally, we see Antonio and Soucek making forward runs inside the box to pose as the aerial threat.

West Ham’s attacking display so far has been imposing, and the Player of the Month nominee Antonio has played a significant role contributing to seven goals so far in just three games (four goals, three assists). The Hammers have had the most touches inside the penalty area whilst also topping the xG charts with – a clear indication that West Ham have opted for a positive approach. As touched on earlier, West Ham have strengthened their side this summer, but Dawson is the only new signing regularly featured, so it will be intriguing to see how the new signings will settle in and improve the Hammers.

Transition to Defence

Before analysing West Ham’s defensive work, it is essential to note that West Ham are a counter-attacking side. Once they win possession of the ball, they look to go on the attack. The 4th goal in their opening game against Newcastle is the perfect example.

Michail Antonio working hard for his team, dropping deep to help The Hammers win the ball back and in the end, he recovers the ball. Note that Benrahma has already started to make his counter-attacking run.

The West Ham midfielder spotted the forward run by Behrahma right away and attempts a first-time direct pass into his path. Setting West Ham on the attack.

Benrahma gets the ball under control and carries it towards the Newcastle central defenders. Though Michail Antonio worked hard to get back and recover the ball for his side, he also works hard to now support the attack by sprinting forward to support.

The counter-attack ends with Benrahma feeding Antonio the ball and the in-form Jamaican international smashes home West Ham’s fourth goal of the game.

Knowing West Ham take a counter-attacking approach, we may also get the idea of how West Ham look to set up defensively. Longer spells without the ball, the Hammers will operate in a narrow and compact mid-block whilst being patient with their pressing and breaking their defensive shape. Moyes sets his team to force the opponents out wide, and that is where West Ham complete most of their defensive duels and recoveries, as we can see below from their most recent game against Crystal Palace.

Defending narrow and actively forcing the opponents out wide cuts of access to the opponent’s central players, making it difficult to be broken down and to achieve this, careful body positioning will need to be utilised. When the opponents are playing out from the back, West Ham are happy to allow the building team to have the ball as Moyes’ team will focus on carefully positioning themselves to cut off central passing lanes. This is how they get their opponents to play out wide due to lack of options, and West Ham will use the pass out wide as their pressing trigger.

Looking at these screenshots, Leicester had 12 seconds of possession whilst West Ham worked extremely hard blocking central passing lanes and marking nullifying the central threat. The player closest to the ball usually takes the responsibility of positioning themselves between the ball and man.

In this scenario, Leicester could not work the ball forward due to West Ham’s block, so in an attempt to receive the ball, Youri Tielemans dropped deep into the right half-space.

Daniel Amartey’s body positioning had already given away the direction of the pass, but as soon as the ball has left his foot to play the pass, we can see West Ham’s press now triggered. This wide pass was an invitation for both Antonio and Benrahma to press more intensely. Fornals is also ready to join the press, as, if Tielemans gets the beating of both men, he had had a free passing option and space to carry otherwise.

This principle has remained the same, defending deep in their half, trying to force the opponents away from the goal and danger. The Hammers have done this effectively, and they have been defensively solid in the opening three games. They have 8.4 shots against per 90, which is the 4th strongest in this area, indicating how hard they have made it for their opponents to create scoring chances, but they also have the lowest challenge intensity, according to Wyscout. Challenge Intensity calculates duels, tackles and interceptions per minute of opponent possession, so given how patient West Ham have been in breaking their defensive shape, again, this is no surprise.

Lastly, upon losing the ball, Moyes’s side will collapse in their transition. Meaning, they look to go back to their defensive shape rather than counter-pressing trying to win the ball back soon after losing it. This goes hand in hand with their patient defensive approach, not actively seeking to win the ball back when out of possession unless they have been triggered to press. West Ham’s PPDA is at around the leagues average, 12.6 (12.59 is the leagues average) further proving their pressing approach. Not intensely pressing nor sitting back and inviting too much pressure from all areas of the pitch.


To conclude, David Moyes has his side well-coached and seems to have found a system that suits his current crop of players. Last season, Moyes did use a back three, but it is clear that the 4-2-3-1 formation is his and West Ham’s preferred system. With Europa League games to play during mid-week, it is unknown how the players will cope with the heavy schedule, but with their summer transfers and truthfully, players who strengthen the squad depth, West Ham are in good hands for another joyous season and possible European qualification.

West Ham play counter-attacking football and looks to create chances from the wider areas by putting the ball into the box early, taking advantage of their aerial presence. However, what was not touched on during the analysis is that they are also strong at attacking set-pieces. Last campaign, they scored 14 goals from set-pieces, and it will be intriguing to see if that will carry on during the rest of this season.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Briano 7:57 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Very good that .. thanks

Texas Iron 6:33 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

blueeyed.handsomeman 4:55 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
THankYou Alan,

chim chim cha boo 3:19 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers Alan.

BRANDED 2:40 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Some cunt still has to stick the ball in the fucking net though.

Thanks Alan 2:05 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Vexed 1:22 Tue Sep 7
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers Alan, interesting article on Moyes' tactics.

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