This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Andriy Yarmolenko started up-front for Ukraine against Serbia on Sunday, and proved that he can be effective playing through the middle.
The 27-year-old naturally plays right-wing and he has started to prove his effectiveness there for the Hammers, though recent poor results have seen the whole squad suffer somewhat.
That means he hasn’t scored for his club since September, but if given a different role it could freshen up the squad and allow the Ukrainian to rediscover some of his best form.
It is unlikely that he would play up-front due to the form of Sebastien Haller, but operating in the number 10 role, close to the Frenchman, could allow his best attributes to shine.
Given the injury to Manuel Lanzini and the lack of form of Pablo Fornals, who is still without a league goal or assist, attacking midfield is somewhat of a problem position for West Ham, and with Michail Antonio set to return from injury at some stage it makes sense to move the Ukranian into the middle.
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Considering Yarmolenko is not all used to playing as a forward, his performance for his country on Sunday was an impressive one.
He made three key passes and three long balls, which shows how useful he could be for his club in the final third, as the Hammers have lacked players who can provide that cutting edge in attack, with no player averaging more than two key passes per game.
That is one of the reasons why Pellegrini’s side have scored just 14 goals in 12 league games, and why Haller has often been isolated in the lone striker role, with Yarmolenko often too busy helping out in defence.
The midfielder has shown he has an eye for goal too, and by playing in the middle he may be more likely to get onto the end of chances, as Robert Snodgrass’ recent goals attest too.
Against Serbia Yarmolenko also managed a pass accuracy of 88%, while the fact he won a tackle and took part in 15 total duels shows how hardworking he is, and that could come into great effect for West Ham in defending from the front.