Why Bilic should resist the temptation to start Antonio against Chelsea

Upton Park

West Ham United will face Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.

West Ham United head into their London derby clash with Chelsea with a slight selection dilemma as first-choice winger Victor Moses is ineligible to play against his parent club.

The Blues’ winger has been a superb addition for the Hammers, providing valuable width and a different dimension for boss Slaven Bilic to consider when facing teams looking to drop deep and defend.

Against Chelsea, West Ham do have an alternative to Moses in speedy winger Michail Antonio – a deadline-day signing from Championship side Nottingham Forest.

The former Sheffield Wednesday man has pace, power and directness in abundance, but he has barely featured for West Ham since making his move to Upton Park.

Surely, the obvious option for boss Bilic would be to draft him into his team in Moses’ absence Michail Antonio.

However, there is a key reason why the Croatian manager should resist such a scenario and it’s based on their recent performances against the Premier League’s so-called big teams.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have all been beaten by West Ham this season and those results were accomplished due to their ability to remain compact, play narrowly and strike on the counter.

Chelsea are no different. Jose Mourinho’s men will look to control the midfield, dominate possession and exploit the space afforded to them with many players interchangeable.

Playing Antonio in a wide role, with Manuel Lanzini on the opposite flank, will leave Bilic’s side too open and prompt questions as to why they altered a formula which clearly works against the better sides.

Bilic should fill his midfield with hardworking players, apply pressure on the ball and use Dimitri Payet’s wonderful creativity on the counter – repeating their antics against Arsenal, Liverpool and City.

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