Hammers boss David Moyes says he could make a major West Ham change after loss which has already hit his high-flying side hard.
If anyone was underestimating just how hard the loss of Angelo Ogbonna would hit West Ham, then they got a cold reminder in the defeat to Wolves on Saturday.
Ogbonna is not only a key, experienced player for West Ham. But he is also a big leader on and off the pitch as well as being Moyes’s only left-footed centre-back.
The Hammers did not look themselves in a 1-0 defeat at Molineux.
Kurt Zouma has been immense since arriving from Chelsea. But he looked uncharacteristically out of sorts as he was shifted across to the left-side of central defence to accommodate Craig Dawson.
West Ham start a lot of their attacks through Ogbonna feeding the ball out to the left-hand side. And there was a lack of fluidity with Zouma constantly receiving the ball on his right foot and having to adjust.
The Hammers looked tired and deserved to lose the game.
But the result has concerned some supporters who feel it may be a sign of struggles ahead without Ogbonna.
Well now Moyes has hinted he could make a major West Ham change after the loss of Ogbonna, by switching to a back five.
West Ham flourished with a back five – or a back three with wingbacks depending on how you view it – for spells last season.
David Moyes says he could make major West Ham change after loss which has already hit Hammers hard
But as the Hammers started to establish themselves as a consistently competitive side, Moyes reverted to a back four.
Speaking after defeat at Wolves, Moyes admitted he may have to revisit the back five with Arthur Masuaku possibly coming back into the side at left wingback (Football.London).
“I think there was a bit missing,” Moyes told the press (Football.London).
“A couple of players not really at the level they’ve shown, a couple coming back from illness. We just weren’t quite at the races, the first time playing without Angelo.
“To the naked eye we’ve been using a bit of it (a back five) without it looking too obvious but we have to have the right personnel to do it.
“Arthur is someone who could possibly do it for us but it is something we have to consider. They played three at the back and caused us problems with their width and wing-backs but we knew it was coming so it wasn’t something we weren’t aware of.”
It could be that Moyes trials the wingback formation at Rapid Wien on Thursday night.
But given he is expected to make a host of changes, that may not actually help too much come the Man City game on Sunday.
What the switch would do is bring Aaron Cresswell back into a back three acting as the left-sided centre-back, a position he made his own last season.
It would mean Zouma could revert to his favoured position on the right-hand side with Dawson or Issa Diop in the centre where both players would receive the extra cover most fans feel they need.