While West Ham United manager David Moyes was disappointed not to bring in a central/defensive midfielder to the London Stadium during the January transfer window, the Scot certainly can’t complain about the attacking options he has been left with.
Even though Andy Carroll is out injured, Moyes is facing a battle to accommodate all of his key attack-minded players in a suitable formation right now, and it meant that at least one had to make do with a spot on the substitutes’ bench against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend.
Manuel Lanzini had returned from a hamstring injury in the run-up to the clash against Jurgen Klopp’s men and came straight back into the starting XI on Merseyside, playing alongside January loan signing Joao Mario and the in-form Marko Arnautovic as the three most advanced Irons players on the pitch.
It was an understandable decision given Mario’s pedigree, quality and the fact that he will be expecting to play having joined the east London outfit on loan from Inter Milan until the end of the season, while Lanzini is arguably the club’s best player and Arnautovic has been in brilliant form in recent weeks, and since Moyes succeeded Slaven Bilic in November in general.
The man to miss out against the Reds was striker Javier Hernandez, and he certainly would have felt hard done by considering he came into the fixture with three goals in the team’s previous four Premier League matches having struggled for form and to find the net regularly prior to that.
Michail Antonio also sat alongside the Mexican on the substitutes’ bench, and the Hammers boss obviously felt that there was no way that he could fit Hernandez into the team alongside the attacking trio that were already on the pitch.
That was a fair call given that they were playing Liverpool away, but the former Manchester United and Everton manager will surely be thinking about systems he can use to get the quartet – none of which deserve not to be in the starting line-up in current form – all on the pitch at the same time from the start.
While they are only three points above the drop zone ahead of their clash against 18th-placed Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, it certainly seems a more than suitable occasion to get all of his most important attacking players on the field.
Hernandez must be starting in the current form he is in, and a 4-1-3-2 may be the formation and way forward for Moyes in south Wales this weekend.
That would allow the Scot to utilise a partnership up top of the Mexico international and Arnautovic, who have both impressed in the centre-forward role in recent weeks, while Lanzini could play in the centre behind the two strikers with Joao Mario either on the left or right of the three.
With Pedro Obiang absent because of injury until the end of the season, that leaves Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate, Declan Rice and Antonio to fight it out for the other two spots in the team.
Including the quartet of Arnautovic, Mario, Lanzini and Hernandez in the XI would mean that two defensively-minded players would almost certainly be needed, with Kouyate able to play on the right side of the three behind the strikers and Noble sitting in front of the back four.
It would certainly be a slightly risky move but it could be one that pays off for Moyes in terms of a result on the pitch to try and help them reproduce the 4-1 win against Huddersfield Town in January, and it would also serve to keep the club’s key attacking players happy – in the short-term at least.