Premier League

How West Ham Can Pull Off Chelsea Shock

 • by Thomas McIlroy
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David Moyes was largely positive after yet another defeat for West Ham United last weekend.

They went down 2-1 to Manchester City, but, truth be told, there are some defeats which you can take positives from, and that was definitely one of them.

Manchester City went into the game having won their last 12 league games and were expected to thrash the Hammers by three or four goals.

Instead they found it difficult, needing a late David Silva winner to dispatch the visitors to the Etihad 2-1.

Speaking after the game, Moyes said: “Eventually Manchester City will force you back. We weren’t good enough at keeping the ball which meant we had to play slightly differently.

“But I’ve got to say the defensive set-up was good, we kept defending when we had to. I’ve seen a lot of Manchester City over the last year and they’ve improved all the time, so many players can cause you problems but I thought in the main our players did really well.

“I think we should have done much better with their winning goal. I would hope that the centre-back [Declan Rice] in that position would be able to deal with that by stopping the ball getting through or heading it away.

“I’m disappointed that we lost the goal but you have to remember we are playing a young 18-year-old centre-half and he did really well today, it was a big test for him.

“We were always quite good on the counter-attack, we’ve got a lot of power and pace up front. For long periods it looked as though it might be our day but it wasn’t to be.

“They are a really good group of boys, they are trying to get away from trouble, they are working really hard to do so and they did that today. But when you play the top teams you’re going to have to do it for 90 minutes, not 60 or 70 but 90 and we’ve got some other big teams coming up.”


Time to treat Chelsea like Manchester City

Chelsea may be 11 points behind the league leaders, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a similar threat attacking wise.

The Blues have scored in 12 of their last 13 games and in Eden Hazard have one of the form players in the Premier League.

Against Atlético Madrid and Liverpool, he was the best player on the pitch, and looked a real threat whenever he got the ball.


No player in the Premier League has made more successful dribbles per game than his 4.3, and that will be a real problem for West Ham and Moyes to deal with.

But it’s not just Hazard on the ground who’s a threat, there’s Álvaro Morata in the air too.

The Spaniard is averaging 1.1 shots per game with his head, the highest in the league.

And with the Blues finding him so easily in the air, it’s no surprise that he’s scored five Premier League goals with his head, more than double anyone else in England’s top flight.

It’s clear that Moyes will have to treat the game against Chelsea in a similar way to how he did against Manchester City.

And that will surely mean lining up with five at the back again, and hoping for a counter-attack.

The Hammers will need to stop Hazard getting space, and more importantly, stop anyone getting in behind the defence.

With Michail Antonio 50/50 after limping off vs City and Diafra Sakho yet to start a league match this season, the striking options are limited given Andy Carroll and Javier Hernández’s injuries.

The lack of firepower will surely mean West Ham have to treat it like an away game.

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There is no doubt the crowd at the London Stadium would love to see the Hammers come out of the blocks fast and try and land a quick blow on their rivals, but with the squad at Moyes’ disposal, that surely won’t be possible at the moment.

Instead, they’ll have to hope to hang on the ropes for a while, before picking the right moment to launch the killer blow.

They weren’t far off getting that exact scenario spot on at the Etihad last weekend. The Hammers had half completed the task, but were unable to hang on, which is nothing to be particularly ashamed about against one of the best sides the Premier League has seen in Manchester City.

That shows they can do it, and they have to try and replicate that exact game plan against Chelsea once again.

Pep Guardiola’s men had the majority of the ball and letting the Blues have more possession like they’re at home may have to be the game plan too.

Of course Cesc Fàbregas could pick out a killer pass, but eliminating the chance of a Hazard counter-attack is just as crucial.

If the Hammers can stay switched on defensively for 90 minutes, something they definitely couldn’t do under previous boss Slaven Bilić, they could very well cause an upset.

If not, Chelsea will surely make them pay.

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