Fan's View: Striker-less strategy worth another try (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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West Ham fan Neil Fairchild argues Sam Allardyce's successful 4-6-0 formation is worth another try
Once the realisation dawned on West Ham fans at White Hart Lane that the team was playing without a striker, you would have struggled to find many supporters instinctively in favour of this bold change.
Ninety minutes and a 3-0 victory later, 3,000 fans were in agreement that they had just witnessed a tactical masterstroke.
The continued absence of Andy Carroll, coupled with the fruitless search for a back-up striker – or at least a fit back-up striker – explains why West Ham had started the season with no goals to show from three away games.
The options were either to persist with the hapless Modibo Maiga or to take a chance on a youngster such as Elliot Lee.
Or at least that’s what we assumed the options were.
Sam Allardyce had thought of a third way: a formation of 4-6-0.
Depending on your viewpoint, you may associate this with the flair of a Spanish team, or with the negativity of Craig Levein, who once infamously experimented with this formation as manager of Scotland.
We may not yet be Barcelona, but there was little that was negative about the 3-0 win at Tottenham.
Allardyce has been criticised in the past for having no plan B. As plan Bs go, this was up there with the best.
The six midfielders were given the freedom to create goalscoring chances however they saw fit.
Whereas it is most common for West Ham players to look wide to get the ball to wingers Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing, suddenly they were cutting open the opposition defence straight down the middle.
The question now is if this tactic worked well as a one-off tailored to counter Tottenham’s strengths, or whether it can be carried forward into future games, starting with this Saturday’s match against Manchester City.
As someone who cannot remember the last time they witnessed a game quite like the Spurs match, I am all in favour of giving it another go.
The unpredictably of the team was a joy to watch and it was no coincidence that Momo Diame had one of his best games for a long time, and Ravel Morrison his best game yet.
This new formation could be the springboard for a much-needed run of good form.
Carroll’s return to fitness might even provide Allardyce with a problem. Those are the types of problems we can live with.