Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 14.
The Hammers’ climb up the Premier League table owes plenty to their terrific defensive record.
Struggling to click into top gear as an attacking force, David Moyes has been reliant on the retention of a sturdy shape out of possession.
That consistency will provide the east Londoners with confidence ahead of a trip to fast-improving Manchester United this Sunday.
A reliable rearguard
Moyes’ men have done a great job at protecting goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Shipping just 12 goals overall, West Ham are only two behind Newcastle United for the fewest goals conceded.
Able to set up in a 4-2-3-1 or with a back three, they are capable of restricting chances for a Man Utd side who are yet to hit top form inside the final third.
They also travel north as the only top-flight side yet to concede from a set-piece.
|2022/23||Set-piece goals conceded|
Across the last two-and-a-half seasons West Ham have lost 13 and drawn one of 14 matches away to the Premier League’s traditional "Big Six" clubs.
Despite performing well under Moyes, the Hammers have struggled to take major scalps away from London Stadium.
Kehrer the ideal partner for Zouma
Summer signing Thilo Kehrer will be an important player for them as they target a clean sheet at Old Trafford.
The 26-year-old defender, signed from Paris Saint-Germain, has successfully acclimatised to Premier League football, and is growing in confidence match-by-match.
The Germany international is equally comfortable at right-back or centre-back, where he has been an ideal partner for Kurt Zouma.
Kehrer is not strong in the air, but makes up for that with excellent anticipation, speed, mobility, and defensive acumen.
He also wins an impressive 72.73 per cent of his tackles.
The Hammers new boy has quality on the ball too, registering an 88.10 per cent pass accuracy so far.
West Ham possession stats
Earlier this season West Ham were probably guilty of sitting too deep, asking their defensive players to soak up an unnecessary amount of pressure.
Across the last four matches we have witnessed a change in their approach.
Moyes has instead asked his players to get on to the ball more often, and control matches through assured bouts of possession.
In the past Moyes has taken a very defensive approach in trips away to the division’s leading lights, but this time around they could enjoy more possession.
While his team are defensively sound, a more proactive approach might be on the cards.