After that masterclass against Watford’s rightback Daryl Janmaat, Michail Antonio has found another position he can play – wingback. For a natural attacking winger, this must be a sigh of relief for the young Englishman as Moyes’ formation (singular) does not use wingers specifically. Ultimately he provided length up the pitch, and the ability to extend the play by running onto the ball deep in Watford’s end, something that has been missing since the Masuaku suspension. Cresswell has been a good servant in expanding his leftback role to a wingback, but his transformation to a centreback has been much more impressive and effective.
In a flat four at the back, Antonio does not register as an option at leftback or rightback. But, with the formation Moyes has stuck with, and with it looking like the team will stick with Moyes as the manager, Antonio could become a Swiss-Army Knife for the team.
Naturally a right winger, Antonio assisted the Andy Carroll wonder goal from the left side, and as a left wingback put Jaanmat on roller skates and dropped a perfect cross on Chicharito’s head for a goal. Crossing prowess on both sides, Antonio could and should be applied on the most susceptible wing for a counter attack, example Janmaat. With the Dutch defender prone to overlapping with his forwards, Antonio exposed the out of position defender with long balls down the wing.
As an out-and-out striker, Antonio fairs well too. This season, although a small sample size, he has looked threatening. At Burnley alongside Carroll in a striker duo Antonio netted a goal assisted by Joe Hart off a long kick downfield. His speed offers something up top, and as shown in his first season at the London Stadium, he is quite effective with his head. If West Ham can find an central attacking midfielder to play alongside Lanzini, Antonio as a striker offers a lot to the team.
For Moyes Antonio should be used as a shock trooper. Apply him where ever the defence is susceptible. For most of the top six teams wingbacks or overloaded midfields are used with a back three. Antonio can expose narrow defences or over involved wingers, creating depth from either side of the pitch. With Zabaleta approaching a suspension for yellow cards, Antonio could draw into the right side wingback role as well.
So where is his best position? Your guess is as good as mine. But what is certain is that West Ham need his speed on the field moving forward.
Come On You Irons!