This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Ham United have been nothing short of terrible in recent weeks.
Indeed, the Hammers haven’t won any of their previous seven games in all competitions, and they’ve suffered embarrassing defeats such as a 4-0 loss to Oxford United and a 3-0 loss to Burnley.
There are a number of factors that contribute to West Ham’s poor form, but one issue that has to be considered is the form of Sebastien Haller.
The French striker has scored just once in his previous nine appearances, and while that sounds like a poor return that may not be all his fault.
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Haller is at his best when the ball is in the air, as he has won 6.9 aerial duels per game this season, but he’s simply not been receiving enough service from the wings.
Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko put in just 0.6 and 0.3 crosses per game respectively, and it seems as if they need to acclimatise to playing alongside a target man, and it seems as if the international break may help Yarmolenko in that pursuit.
Fortunately, Yarmolenko can gain some extra experience of playing with a big man up top while he’s playing for Ukraine.
Indeed, Ukraine’s first-choice number nine is Roman Yaremchuk, and with the Genk forward standing one centimetre taller than the towering Haller he is a striker in a similar mould.
Yaremchuk is aerially dominant in the same way Haller is as six of his 12 goals for Genk last term came with his head.
Playing with the 23-year-old at international level will help Yarmolenko get used to playing alongside a target man, and that could potentially be a good thing for West Ham.