West Ham boss: Don’t mention the 4-5-1
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce is not happy with people criticising his formation as having only one up front, especially when they keep on winning
When Saturday’s game with Peterborough is confined to the archives of history and largely forgotten – which will not take long – then three points and a clean sheet may well look impressive.
But in truth this was uninspired and unadventurous stuff and though it was a victory, just how long the West Ham fans remain satisfied with simply that is uncertain.
“We’re obviously delighted,” said manager Sam Allardyce after the 1-0 win. “We’ve got three valuable points, but the only disappointment is the fact that our approach play and opportunities to get more goals failed us today.”
It is perhaps not hard to see why. When a lot of your approach play is to hoist the ball up to a lone striker and then fail to properly support him, it is always going to be difficult to put visiting teams under pressure.
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Any mentions of 4-5-1 however are met with annoyance from the boss.
“We’re scoring lots of goals with 4-3-3. And if you mention 4-5-1 again! It’s 4-3-3!” exclaimed the manager.
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“You only have to look at the match stats. You can look at it and say it’s 4-5-1, but how many times did we get into their box? The disappointing thing for me wasn’t just that we didn’t score more, but that we didn’t hit the target more often. We haven’t made their keeper work enough.
“I think eventually we’ll get to a 4-4-2 here and there, but when you’re fourth in the league and haven’t lost for seven matches, it’s difficult to change a system that is working extremely well for where we are at the moment.”
That’s us told then. It is certainly true that the system works well away from Upton Park, where three wins and a draw along with nine goals speak for themselves.
But at home? Against Peterborough? Is that really a system that needs to be adopted? Is that really the West Ham way?
Many would argue that the West Ham way has not been seen at Upton Park for years anyway. That the West Ham way of the last two or three seasons was to lose too many home games and to a large extent that is true.
But that was in the Premier League. This is surely different. West Ham are a team in the Championship with a squad that is good enough for the top flight and yet there is no swagger, no real class being shown by the team when they play at home.
Perhaps we are making too much of it. After all the be all and end all of this season is promotion and it really doesn’t matter the way in which the Hammers go about it, as long as they achieve it.
“You only have to look at what gets you promoted automatically and two points or better does that,” said Allardyce.
“There can be a freak season where you need more, but generally if you’re hitting those targets – and we’re one point ahead of that ratio – that’s a massive boost.
“That will make life so much easier when, somewhere down the line, we don’t get the result we’re looking for. If we’ve got that cushion, then you can pick up from there without a disappointing result costing you too much.”
The bookies and most fans are confident that West Ham will be back in the Premier League next season. And in this day and age, it seems that is the only thing that matters.
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