A depleted squad securing one point at home is fine for a January result, but losing 3-1 to a relegation rival, and team that was just promoted is inexcusable. Sure, Moyes’ diamond works and is versatile, but sticking with the same formation when you have better options on the bench is stubborn.
What was featured in this woeful formation was career rightback Pablo Zabaleta playing his second concurrent game at center midfield. Many, myself included, believed this move was out of desperation against Crystal Palace, but it apparently was feasible to roll it out against a team struggling in the standings. After hammering that square peg into a round hole twice in a row, Moyes needs to adjust his faithful formation to suit his players, not force the players to fit.
Michail Antonio, an offensive threat when playing was a substitution late in the match and was never able to get situated in the match. Why would Moyes’ not install him directly into the lineup to give Chicharito support with speed and physicality? Again stubbornness seems to be the answer. The adage says that you don’t change a winning formation, but not changing a shallow formation because you drew a mid-table team in your own building is idiotic.
I don’t think Moyes has been to blame for much this season since he was appointed manager, but this blunder comes at an inopportune time. West Ham’s relegation rivals all seemed to add points, and jump closer to surpassing the Hammers. With the transfer window depressingly gone Moyes will need to make due with what he has for team selection, but he needs to throw tradition, sayings, and folklore out the window and make a team that wins.
Moving forward Moyes needs to rely on who is in form, and who is available. Chicharito, who netted for West Ham in this match seems to be getting back into stride in recent games. He needs the support of a Michail Antonio or Jordan Hugill up top to step his game up further.
Defensively both Declan Rice and James Collins showed their ages in this match. Rice, with youthful inexperience and Collins with the wear and tear of a grizzled veteran. Poor man marking and active feet resulted in multiple goals against for West Ham and should force Jose Fonte and Winston Reid back into the line up for West Ham’s next match against Watford.