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West Ham need a change in formation to get the best out of Felipe Anderson

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’s Felipe Anderson is enduring a difficult run of form but there could be a quick solution to get him firing once again.

On the chalkboard

The Brazilian has suffered from inconsistency since arriving in east London last year, occasionally acting as the stand-out performer for his side as he helped himself to ten goals and nine assists in 2018/19.

This time around, however, he has zero goals and only three league assists to show for his efforts, and his display against Everton drew the ire of several West Ham supporters.

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His pass accuracy of 67% and a failure to produce a single key pass or cross demonstrates his drop in standard, but if Manuel Pellegrini can get him more involved in the Hammers’ play, particularly higher up the pitch, then his fortunes should change.

There could be a simple change which allows that to happen, too, and it lies in a change in formation.

System which suits the players

It would be a bold call for the Chilean to change to a 5-2-3, given his history of operating primarily with a 4-2-3-1 style since arriving at the London Stadium, but it is a change which could suit both Anderson and the rest of the team.

To get the best out of the 26-year-old West Ham need to implement a more attacking philosophy, and reduce the defensive responsibilities that currently burden the winger.

Pellegrini may wish to avoid doing that due to his side’s defensive vulnerabilities, having conceded ten goals in the last four games, but adding a third centre-back to the starting line-up would negate that concern.

It would also allow Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku to operate as wing-backs, which suits their attacking intent – with the pair achieving one and 2.3 successful dribbles per game throughout their respective careers – as well as allowing for the inclusion of important players such as Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko.

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Most importantly, Anderson could be given a free role, allowing him to play closer to Sebastien Haller and thus link play more effectively, with his 16 passes against Everton underlining his lack of involvement.

In such a role he would be able to escape the attention of defenders and find the empty space vacated by the absence of Manuel Lanzini, and in doing so should be able to provide better support for Haller, and also score more himself.

Article title: West Ham need a change in formation to get the best out of Felipe Anderson

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