Slaven Bilic has commented on difficulties of the Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez strike partnership, conceding ‘it is very hard to please everyone’.
Since Carroll’s return to the Hammer’s starting lineup against Huddersfield Town, West Ham have employed a 3-4-3 formation. In this new system we have yet to concede a goal, however neither striker has managed a goal. Andy Carroll is operating as the centre forward, with Michail Antonio and Javier Hernandez supporting him on the wing. It’s not working.
West Ham the better side v WBA but effectively playing with ten men, so pointless it is playing Hernandez wide left.— Duncan Wright (@dwright75) September 16, 2017
Hernandez is one of the best goal scorers in the Premier League; in fact Chicharito has never scored a Premier League goal outside the penalty area. Only John Terry and Tim Cahill have hit the back of the net more times in the top-flight without scoring from outside the box. This says everything about Hernandez. You need to play a system where the Mexican is in the penalty area as much as possible.
In Monday’s press conference, Bilic was asked whether a partnership between Carroll and Hernandez could work:
"Yes, but it's very hard to please everyone.
"It's possible, of course, and I'm thinking about that the most.
"It's very hard to put two of them on their ideal positions as two strikers, which looks really good on paper.
"It's easy to do that of course, but then it's very hard to have three at the back...it's almost impossible."
With West Ham’s recent defensive struggles, Bilic is reluctant to abandon the three at the back system that has strengthened the defence. It appears that the system is sacrificing goals from the strikers to be successful.
Since joining for £16 million from Bayer Leverkusen, Hernandez has managed two classic poacher goals. The kind of finishing that West Ham have been lacking in recent years. If the manager is keen to stick to the system, we should be dropping Carroll rather than Hernandez.
Bilic continued by addressing Hernandez:
"Chicharito is at the moment playing in a position that is not his ideal position,
"But I spoke to him and he is a great lad and I said 'we have priorities and at the moment the team needs you there' and he is doing the job, of course.
"Now we have to keep it - we have to keep the stability, we can't lose it."
Bilic has come under criticism for playing people out of position before, namely Antonio’s follies at right back and sticking Robert Snodgrass anywhere but his favoured right midfield. Playing Hernandez wide left appears to be the latest chapter in this ongoing saga.
We await Manuel Lanzini to recover from his injury, leading to the possibility that he could operate as an central attacking midfielder with Carroll and Hernandez as traditional centre forwards. This is what many were expecting when the Hernandez signing was announced, but if Bilic is committed to three centre backs we might have to endure more of the same 3-4-3.
The situation will naturally resolve itself in the near future when Andy Carroll gets his trademark season-ending injury. This will leave Chicharito to fill the void at centre forward and bang in the goals while Carroll recovers from trench foot or whatever new ailment he incurs.
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