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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

What can we expect from West Ham tomorrow?

West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League - Match Day 28
Wed, Mar 2, 2016 - 7:45 PM

Earlier in the season West Ham United, under new manager Slaven Bilic, made a name for themselves as giant killers on the road. They beat Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as drawing at Manchester United.

This time, they are at home, where their form which has been largely overlooked. How have they fared at the Boleyn ground this season?

  1. Leicester City Lost 2-1
  2. Bournemouth Lost 3-4
  3. Newcastle United Won 2-0
  4. Norwich City Drew 2-2
  5. Chelsea Won 2-1
  6. Everton Drew 1-1
  7. WBA Drew 1-1
  8. Stoke City Drew 0-0
  9. Southampton Won 2-1
  10. Liverpool Won 2-0
  11. Manchester City Drew 2-2
  12. Aston Villa Won 2-0
  13. Sunderland Won 1-0

That is not a bad record, they are unbeaten in 11 home league games and won 4 of the last 5. On home form, they sit 7th in the table, having scored 21 in 13 games and conceded just 14. While this is just another game for us, it is their Cup Final it seems. So what can we expect?

Well, like ourselves they have had a change of attitude, gone has gone Sam Allardyce, mush to their fans delight and in has come Slaven Bilic, who did well in Turkey at Besiktas. He places a big emphasis on keeping a well-organised shape, but that doesn't mean they simply soak up the pressure and hit teams on the break, they have a forward thinking mindset.

They have a midfield three who work hard to harass opponents in a similar vein to ourselves, except we do it with more players. They tend to engage more in central midfield, we will look to exploit the width once again with our full-backs.

They have a back four who are well drilled and cope with pressure well it seems. When the side attack they attack with purpose and are taught to be on the front foot ready for any chance, it is amazing how many strikers are not on the front foot, which you would think they should be all the time. They like everyone else have to manage their energy levels and concentration, individual game management a skill that is different under different managers.

Their midfield has had speed added to it in attack and 28-year-old Dimitri Payet has been an excellent purchase for them, they certainly missed him while he was injured. They no longer rely on crosses with Bilic preferring to keep the ball on the floor.

One curve ball is that Bilic has employed a number of formations, he began with a 4-1-2-1-2 and we have seen 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1 so quite how he'll set-up is anyone's guess. Last time it was 4-3-3 but we simply overran them, being quicker to the ball and according to Bilic simply the better team. They will have improved since then with the players having more time to adjust to the way Bilic wants them to play. They are in the same position we were in last season in that respect.

This game will be a bigger test than the one at White Hart Lane, focus chaps, focus.



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