When Slaven Bilic arrived in London last summer we quickly became accustomed to his willingness to share his philosophical views.
Before laying down his principles he made it quite clear that he was very keen on bringing a fast, quick-passing, attacking style of football to West Ham,, which we hadn’t witnessed for some time.
Expanding on this basic premise, he encouraged all players to participate in as many different aspects of play possible.
However, he made it clear that all players, in addition to nominated strikers, could contribute whenever feasible to the overall goal-scoring tally. Although we have just been treated to a stunning 3-1 away win over Bournemouth, we have to face up to the reality that we are without Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.
This leaves us with Enner Valencia and Nikica Jelavic as our only fit strikers. In addition, Manual Lanzini has been side-lined for up to six weeks. This leaves us with an opportune time to examine the entire squad, in search of those very players who may just score the unexpected but important, goals which will assist in winning as many of our last 17 league games left.
To date, we have scored 33 goals in 21 league outings. An analysis shows that our nominated strikers (including Modibo Maiga), have contributed 12, our attacking playmakers have scored an impressive 10, while the rest have contributed 11.
So let’s look at this last group of players who, for one reason or the other, are capable of adding to the goal tally.
There is much to admire about Cheikhou Kouyate. Within a short time since his transfer from Anderlecht, he has proved himself a very capable member of the team, whether playing in a defensive role or as a central midfielder.
Not only has he demonstrated the desirable skills in his designated position, but he also adds a vital goal scoring threat, netting four in his first season, and three so far this term.
Kouyate possesses a number of attributes that might lead to the conclusion that he may become a very useful player to call on to assist our strikers in the goal-scoring department.
At 6 foot, 3 inches, he has good qualities in the air, is very fast in the initial stages of attack, and possesses a shot. Who can forget his, and West Ham’s first goal of the season in the 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates? What impressed was not just the ability to fire in a powerful header from a well crafted Payet free-kick, close scrutiny reveals a very well-timed run into an unmarked space in the right hand side of the Arsenal penalty area, perfectly orchestrated to meet Dimi’s beautifully curved pass.
A combination of good interception and a sense of vision, may see our self-effacing and very popular number 8 score some very useful goals in unexpected situations and desperate times.
It may come as no surprise to see Kouyate take up a ‘quasi striker’ role, as we await the return of Carroll, Sakho, Zarate, and Lanzini during the next 4-8 weeks.
Victor Moses & Michail Antonio
Grouping these players as a pair makes fairly good sense. They both possess amazing pace and acceleration, with Moses gaining the majority of playing time until his recent injury.
The qualities of the best wingers in the world is not only their expected line running and accuracy in crossing, but that special ability to score goals as well.
Moses scored a cracker in the 2-1 away win against Man City. From 25 yards, he fired past Joe Hart to give us an unexpected but well deserved lead.
While Antonio was almost lost into obscurity, he has since shown with each game that he is getting better and better. He too has a fine goalscoring record, particularly with Nottingham Forest.
In February last year, playing against Bolton Wanderers, he began a stunning run from the half-way line, breezing past four players, before hitting a sensational ball from the inside of the penalty area into the top of the net.
In our recent 2-0 win against Liverpool, he scored with a fabulous diving header; having sprinted nearly the entire length of the field to finish off a great cross from Enner Valencia.
Aaron Cresswell & Carl Jenkinson
Aaron Cresswell enjoys his secondary role a wing-back, and has shown his ability to deliver superb crosses and goals from either open play or from direct free-kicks.
Carl Jenkinson is just starting to return to his form of last season with a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty area in the recent FA Cup win against Wolves, which was just tipped over the bar.
There is no questioning his pace and acceleration. However, it seems like the goal-scoring process can be an appealing and enjoyable part in the life of a full-back.
Slaven Bilic’s flexibility in formation attitude may allow one or both of these fine players to adjust to positions further up field, allowing them to latch onto passes from the likes of Payet, Antonio, Valencia, Song and Noble to assist in the over-all goal scoring tally.
West Ham World is a platform that allows fans to express their opinions on a grander scale. The views in this article are not necessarily those of West Ham World, but we ask you to respect the opinions of the author regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Thanks.