Our next serious challenge has arrived, so it’s time we look to our manager to provide some real grit and imagination in selecting a team formation which should be able to score at least three goals against Domzale.
The basic equation is fairly simple; sharpen up in attack, and lock up in defence.
I suggest embarking on a 4-3-3 formation. On the left side of the attack use Valencia as a left winger/striker, not too far away from the centrally placed Andy Carroll. This gives Valencia the option to use his pace and create crosses from wide, or alternatively play narrow, and fire at goal with returned short passes from Carroll.
On the right wing, Antonio should be given freedom to play wide, or embark on some of his exciting inward runs from a slightly deeper position, using Kouyate as a decoy to drag defenders out of position. If Antonio cuts in, he has the option of setting up either Carroll for a far post header, or using a nice low pass for Valencia to bang on to.
In addition, Antonio can make a nice central cut back for Noble or Kouyate. The mere thought of having Antonio playing in the correct position gets me fairly optimistic. The other option is for Valencia to by-pass Carroll, and look for either Kouyate and/or a raging Antonio. With Valencia and Antonio in an offensive three, we have speed to burn.
No let us take a quick look at the back four. Surely Sam Byram would be the equal if not better option at right-back?
If this formation is employed, it would allow the Reid-Nordtveit combo to quickly connect to Noble and Kouyate, or even Antonio backing up to assist the midfield in re-forming fresh attacks from the centre of the park.
My main concern is that Bilic opts for his favourite 4-2-3-1 formation with the hope of a 1-0 outcome – far too dangerous with the impressive Crnic on the prowl. Again, we must look to score the early first goal, with a second goal before half time.
The other big concern is that Slav continues to play Michail Antonio at right-back, for reasons that escape myself and half of the West Ham support base.
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