West Ham United’s season has been one of disruption on the pitch as well as off it.
The discontent before, during and following their recent home defeat against Burnley has been highly publicised, but on the pitch they have also been in disarray.
This hasn’t been helped by constant changes of formation, as their two managers this season have tested many different systems in the search of finding sustained good form.
Admittedly, they haven’t been helped by a number of injuries throughout the team, but towards the end of his tenure Bilic looked at a loss after almost everything he tried to turn the club’s fortunes around failed.
Worryingly for the Hammers, Moyes appears to be heading in a similar direction. The Irons sit just three points above the relegation zone and with the possibility of signing players long gone, the Scot must find a way to win games using the tools he’s got.
Of course, West Ham shouldn’t be in this position. The lack of investment when compared to other clubs in the top flight is a big part of the reason for the fan protests.
And dropping down to the Championship following only their second season in a new stadium would raise even more questions around whether they were right to leave their historical home.
The London Stadium may not be fit for purpose in its current state, but West Ham need to prove they are still fit for the Premier League.
So the only option for Moyes is to look at all the systems he and his predecessor have used and decide which one will help them secure the points to retain their Premier League status.
In their Premier League performances under Bilic this term, the Hammers won just one game using a back four. They lost four and drew once, which means they took points from just 33 per cent of their games in that set-up.
Moyes meanwhile has failed to win a game using this system, losing three and drawing two.
With a back three or five, Bilic’s side won once, drew twice and lost twice; they took points in 60 per cent of games.
Moyes, meanwhile, has used a back three system in 14 of his 19 games in charge, winning five, losing five, and drawing four — they have come away with points in 64 per cent of these games.
The numbers for playing a back three aren’t skewed for being used against ‘easier’ opposition either, as the formation has been deployed in all but one of their eight games against top six sides.
The combined results under their two managers this season, using the two main different formations used are shown below:
- Won 1
- Drawn 3
- Lost 7
- Win percentage: 9 per cent
- Points won percentage: 36 per cent
- Won 6
- Drawn 6
- Lost 7
- Win percentage: 31 per cent
- Points won percentage: 63 per cent
There is one clear winner here and the recent loss to Burnley should the final nail in the coffin for the back four.
Moyes will now have to work out which combination of midfield and attacking players to use in front of his defensive rearguard, while also restoring Adrián as the club’s main man between the posts.
Even if West Ham stay up they will have plenty of work to do this summer to stop the rot which has seen tensions boil over.
These aren’t the kind of bubbles the club want to be blowing. The best thing Moyes can do is return to a back three in an effort to keep a lid on the situation.