West Ham United head to Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday night and Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini should consider a formation change at Stamford Bridge. Earlier this week, Football FanCast ran the rule over switching to a 4-3-3; this time around, we’re putting a potential 5-3-2 under the microscope.
Back-to-back wins for Chelsea mean that the Blues will be full of confidence ahead of Monday night’s clash with West Ham.
It is a tough ask to expect the Hammers to pick up all three points, but Maurizio Sarri’s side have had their problems this season and it is shaping up to be a very interesting battle between the two London clubs.
West Ham were poor in their 2-0 defeat to Everton last weekend, though, and Pellegrini must try something different at Stamford Bridge.
A switch to a 5-3-2 formation – marking the first time Pellegrini hasn’t used a four-man defence while in charge of West Ham – would give the visitors solidarity at the back, with Aaron Cresswell and perhaps Michail Antonio operating as the wing-backs.
Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna should both keep their spots at centre-back, with Declan Rice dropping from his midfield role to central defence.
Not really. West Ham are not going to have loads of the possession at Stamford Bridge and Mark Noble is capable of performing the ball-winning role in the middle of the park.
Moving Rice further back would certainly make the Hammers more solid, with Eden Hazard having another player to face when he moves into a dangerous position.
Rice has not actually played central defence under Pellegrini, but it is a position where he feels comfortable and there are many who feel that the England international will eventually drop into that area of the field.
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West Ham’s next two Premier League matches are away to Chelsea and away to Manchester United.
And it would not be the worst decision in the world to become a little bit more defensive in a bid to pick up a couple of positive results.