David Moyes appears to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation, which has served the Hammers reasonably well of late, securing seven points in the last four matches. However, for this evening’s critical clash against Watford, he must throw the opposition off and start his two most potent attacking options.
The Hornets are level on 34 points with the Hammers, and both sides are teetering narrowly above the relegation zone. A defeat this evening could be catastrophic and suck the Irons back into the thick of the survival scrap, three points clear of danger with two matches remaining. Therefore, Moyes must throw caution to the wind and utilise all of the attacking firepower available to him, from the off, by starting Michail Antonio alongside Sebastien Haller.
After his four-goal haul against Norwich City, the 30-year-old Englishman is one of the Premier League’s most in-form strikers, having netted six goals since the return of the division. Up to this point, Antonio has taken on the thankless task of leading the line singlehandedly and flourished while Haller was recovering from injury.
However, the towering Frenchman is now fit, though he only has 30 minutes of action since the restart, Haller should be raring to add to his tally of seven Premier League goals in his debut campaign. He has also frequently led the line singlehandedly this term, often to his detriment, and at times it has left him isolated in the final third.
Back in February, Haller had gone 564 minutes without finding the back of the net before Moyes decided to support the striker by deploying Antonio alongside him, for the crucial victory against Southampton. The switch proved to be incredibly effective, with the 27-year-old finally ending his barren run, furthermore, Antonio doubled his tally of goals and assists for the season by registering one of each.
A draw simply will not do this evening, and defeat is almost unthinkable, Moyes must make a statement of intent by deploying the Hammers’ two top-scorers alongside one another against the Hornets. Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice have the industry to cover the gaps in the engine room, while Jarrod Bowen is more than comfortable slotting in on the right side of a four-man midfield. Pablo Fornals has featured on the left side of midfield ten times this term and should also get the nod if Moyes does tweak his tactics.
Grabbing a grip on the game early should be the key to defeating Watford. The Hornets have conceded ten since the restart and Moyes must target their defensive deficiencies to ensure the Irons are victorious and leave the relegation quagmire behind them.