The merits of the infamous 4-6-0 formation came crashing down to earth last week at Upton Park against Manchester City, where we were soundly dispatched with the minimum of fuss. Granted, the opposition that day was of a higher quality than provided by Spurs in the previous game, and the silky skills of Silva and Aguero were a delight to watch. But the fact of the matter is, we need a goalscorer – even in a 4-6-0 formation, and we simply did not have one on the pitch that day. We need a Suarez or a Michu, and Vaz Te – despite his endeavour – does not compare. What we do have to choose from are Carlton Cole, Petric and Maiga. Carlton is approaching the required fitness levels, but he is surely not going to improve on his form from last year, which led to West Ham taking the decision not to renew his contract. He is the type of striker that fits most comfortably into the Allardyce Plan A formation though, so may get some time on the pitch to wards the end of the match. Petric is the most obvious choice if continuing with the 4-6-0 formation, and surely he must be fit enough by now to give Vaz Te a run for his money? I would not be surprised to see him start. But I fear it will be a case of “Play it again Sam”, and the same formation up front as last week.
In midfield, Nolan seems a shadow of his fomer self, and I would imagine that if he were not the skipper, he would have been given a rest already. He is probably still one of the first names on the team sheet though, and I would very surprised if that were to change.
Against Man City, the defence were lambasted by Allardyce for some simple mistakes in giving 2 goals away, and as well as Tomkins has been playing, I would expect him to make way for James Collins today who has been generally outstanding this season. Rat should keep his place now he has forced his way into the team, and Demel and Reid should complete the lineup.
Today’s match against Swansea should be interesting, as they do play attractive football along the ground like we used to many moons ago. They have had two managers – Laudrup, and Rogers before him – that have a similar view on how the game should be played. I must admit to feeling a little envious of both teams’ supporters, and have a hankering for a manager like that at West Ham one day. Still, we have Big Sam for now and we must all get behind him and the players he has at his disposal. Carroll is unlikely to be back on the pitch before Christmas, so we may struggle with results. The January transfer window will be interesting, and a chance to fill some holes in the squad (assuming we can offload Maiga and AN Other), but despite all the current problems, I am still hopeful of a mid-table finish at the end of the season.