West Ham United have been one of the most surprising teams to watch this season.The Hammers’ fans had a mixed feeling in the transfer window. Grady Diangana, the West Ham youth player was sold to West Bromwich Albion on a permanent deal. The deal sparked some outrage from most people involved with the club, including captain Mark Noble showing his disappointment regarding the sale on social media. However, the Hammers retained Declan Rice, at least for another season, and secured the signings of Benrahma on loan, Coufal and also made the deal of Soucek permanent.
West Ham started the new season with a defeat against Newcastle United at home and it looked like it was going to be a long hard season for West Ham, given they had to face three of last season’s top five in the fixtures that immediately followed. However, their performances during this difficult run of fixtures has been better than most expected with wins against Leicester and Wolves and draws against Spurs and City. These impressive performances should majorly be attributed to the change in formation that manager David Moyes has used since their defeat on opening day. Moyes and West Ham moved from their usual 4-2-3-1, which he used for the major part of last season, to a back three (3-4-3).
Two players who have benefitted the most out of this formation change are Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku. Cresswell, playing on the left side of a back three, has played every minute of the league season so far. The 30-year old Englishman has three assists to his name, which is more than any other West Ham United player. Cresswell has also won 74% of his defensive duels, which is more than any West Ham defender. Masuaku, on the other hand, was benched when Moyes used the 4-2-3-1 system, but since the change of system, he has started every game. The 3-4-3 system also allows West Ham to play to the strengths of their front three of Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals. The front three of West Ham have scored eight goals in total already. Another key player in this West Ham team is Angelo Ogbonna who has been rock solid at the heart of the defense. The Italian central defender has more touches in the penalty area than any other West Ham defender and is a key player in West Ham’s offensive and defensive set pieces. Ogbonna has also played every minute of the season so far and has 55 interceptions to his name, more than any other West Ham player. Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček have also formed a good partnership on the pitch in the 3-4-3, complimenting each other very well.