West Ham’s home form has yet to replicate their excellent away form.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Martin Keown has attempted to explain why West Ham have failed to replicate their exceptional away form at the Boleyn Ground, where they have managed just one win in four attempts.
Arsenal legend Keown said: “I think they have been too open at home and are trying too hard to be free-flowing. It looks like Slaven Bilic is still trying to decide which is the best system for them to use. Perhaps the fans need to work harder when they're struggling at Upton Park and make it a happier place for the team to be. The West Ham faithful are usually fantastic at spurring their team on, but less so when they go a couple of goals behind.”
The idea of free flowing football is one which head coach Bilic has been trying to instigate since being appointed this summer, and he has built a side capable of playing this sale of play.
However, West Ham’s best games this season have been when they have played on the counter-attack, letting teams attack them before breaking with speed, directness - and an incredible preciseness in front of goal.
This style has not been possible at the Boleyn Ground, where West Ham are expected to dominate play, and it is no surprise that their best performance at home was in the 2-0 win over Newcastle - when it was the Magpies who were attacking for much of the game.
Keown suggests that Bilic has his team playing football that is too open and attacking, and that the head coach is forcing the issue rather than playing the system that suits his team, and has been working away from home.
It is hard to understand why Bilic has not forced his team to play the same style at home as has worked so well away from East London, but if the Croatian boss could sort out the Hammers form at the Boleyn Ground, the Irons are sure to be fighting at the top end of the Premier League table come the end of the season.