In a surprising turn of events, West Ham United, under David Moyes’s leadership, found relief in a 3-1 win over Arsenal. This was achieved after a challenging week where the team suﬀered
three consecutive defeats. Not only did the win propel West Ham into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, but it also shed light on a strategic challenge for the team.
Moyes, known for his tactical intelligence, seized the opportunity to implement a counter-attack strategy against Arsenal. This tactical shift came in response to the coach’s recent criticism of his team’s slow build-up play against Everton. By adopting this new approach, West Ham managed to secure the victory, even with a rate of possession that’s less than 30%. This accomplishment, only achieved six times in the 2023 Premier League season, is a feat West Ham has now
accomplished three times this year, against Brighton, Chelsea and now Arsenal.
The key to West Ham’s success against Arsenal lies in the opponent’s pressing tactics, which created spaces in the midfield, a factor that was absent in the match against Everton. The
midfield trio of Lucas Paqueta, Tomas Soucek and Edson Alvarez outshone their opponents; they relied on their physical prowess, unwavering dedication, and anticipation to break up the
Nonetheless, West Ham cannot continually rely on open spaces to mount their attacks, especially when facing teams that defend deep and wait for West Ham to initiate the play. Their recent encounter with Brentford, a team they hadn’t managed to overcome in the Premier
League after five attempts, posed a unique challenge. Brentford excels at absorbing pressure and launching counterattacks, much like West Ham themselves. With Alvarez and Paqueta suspended, Moyes had to make midfield adjustments.
While the Hammers managed to score two goals, they could not prevent the opponent, who employed a similar tactic, from netting three goals of their own.
David Moyes stated, “We might excel in cup competitions,” but he emphasized his desire for West Ham to establish themselves as a challenging league force. Although they have
demonstrated their ability to thrive in chaotic, counterattacking scenarios, West Ham in their upcoming matches against Nottingham Forest, Burnley, and Crystal Palace will require a more controlled approach if they are to fulfill their ambitions in the league.
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