Premier League Logo
Talking Tactics

Pellegrini will bring back flair to West Ham

Adrian Clarke 4 Aug 2018
Felipe Anderson, West Ham

Adrian Clarke believes the Hammers have the quality to play attractive football under the Chilean manager

Manuel Pellegrini will aim to make West Ham United a far better technical and creative side in 2018/19.

The experienced Chilean, who guided Manchester City to the 2013/14 Premier League title, is renowned for moulding teams that play attractive, controlled football.

Summer signings such as Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, point towards a clear shift in that direction.

And those three newcomers will add considerable craft to the Hammers' play inside the final third.

A necessary change

West Ham did not always show the attacking ambition their supporters craved under previous manager David Moyes.

While there was no issue with his sides playing three, or five, at the back, many of Moyes’ team selections featured seven or more defensive-minded players.

This cautious approach meant the Irons relied heavily on Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini, while the midfield was often too far detached from the forward line.

Isolated and feeding off longer passes, it was difficult for the strikers to deliver.

West Ham's build-up play under Pellegrini can be expected to be more assertive.

Fewest open-play chances created
2017/18 Chances created
Swansea 174
Everton 194
Burnley 195
West Ham 204
Brighton 210
Sea change

Of the sides who avoided relegation last term only Burnley, Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion made fewer successful passes inside the final third than the Hammers, who managed 68.39 per 90 minutes.

Consequently, goalscoring opportunities from open play were scarce.

Pellegrini immediately recognised the need to address this shortcoming.

His acquisitions and attacking philosophy will bring about a dramatic change.

West Ham open-play chances created
2017/18 Chances created PL rank
Arnautovic 27 44
Lanzini 25 52
Chicharito 21 78
Noble 17 107
Zabaleta 15 126
Four at the back

History suggests Pellegrini will deploy a traditional back four at London Stadium, and pre-season friendlies have confirmed this preference.

It will be interesting to see which configuration the 64-year-old plumps for most frequently because in his Man City days he mainly flitted between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 formation.

Formation Matches
4-2-3-1 51
4-4-2 46
4-4-1-1 14
4-2-2-2 3
Single striker

Though the prospect of a Chicharito-Arnautovic partnership appeals, Pellegrini will more likely deploy a lone front man in the early weeks of the season.

Expect the exciting Anderson to tuck in behind the striker.

This system will create stiff competition for places in central midfield, with Wilshere, Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice, who has been tried there in pre-season, battling it out for two spots.

The improved quality and depth of West Ham’s squad guided by an old hand will produce a brand of football the fans have for so long been crying out for.

Also in this series

Part 1: Everton can go the distance under Silva
Part 3: Hudson-Odoi can thrive under Sarri's new style
Part 4: Emery faces dilemma in quest to tighten up Arsenal

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos