West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce may or may not be the manager of the club for their final season at Upton Park next year, but he has to try and find a way of getting the side to play some good football in the club’s final two games of the season.
West Ham have really struggled to score goals, only managing more than one strike in a match on one occasion since they defeated Hull City last January.
The best approach for Allardyce heading into the game against Everton this weekend could be to go back to basics and go with a simple approach over the way the team gets at the Toffees back four.
The 1-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa last weekend saw the Hammers start the game with a winger up front and two centre forwards on the bench.
Granted, Nene and Carlton Cole haven’t exactly set the world alight this season, but a different and productive approach for Allardyce this weekend could be to start Cole through the middle.
The likes of Stewart Downing, Enner Valencia and Morgan Amalfitano in any combination are capable of playing productive football in wide areas, with experience through the middle in the form of Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan, who can control the game.
In effect, Allardyce could take a leaf out of the book used by Villa boss Tim Sherwood over how he’s revitalised Christian Benteke, since he became their manager.
There are just two games left for the Hammers and nothing to play for and while starting Cole wouldn’t be the most popular choice Allardyce has ever made, the Hammers can get the ball into him quickly and they need to trust him to make things happen.
There is plenty of pace and talent in the midfield to get players forward in support, but it could be a very simple and effective plan from the boss; start with a centre forward, use trusted players out wide and get the ball forward as quickly as possible, whether that’s long, down the sides or into feet.