How Should West Ham Use Sébastien Haller?

How Should West Ham Use Sébastien Haller?


West Ham’s new striker, Sebastian Haller,
could turn out to be one of the signings of the season if West Ham can find a way to get
the best out of him. At Eintracht Frankfurt Haller was part of the one of the best front
threes in Europe, along with Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic. Haller scored 15 goals, or 25%
of Eintracht Frankfurt’s total of 60. Jovic netted 17, while Rebic got 9. Between them,
the trio also managed a number of assists: Rebic got four, while Jovic got five and Haller
nine, with three of those being scored by Jovic. Frankfurt’s trio had an almost telepathic
understanding. Adi Hütter had most success with a kind of 3-4-1-2, playing a direct style,
playing out vertically or angled towards the wide channels. They harnessed the strength
and movement of Haller and Rebić, who were equally adept at holding up the ball and feeding
it on, or taking and driving forwards. Rebic tended to play central but generally
deeper, occupying a sort of ten position but without simply creating with his passing.
Haller and Jovic played ahead, but with the Frenchman often peeling wide or dropping off,
while Jovic stayed further forward to feed off Haller and Rebic’s passes, or the crosses
from Frankfurt’s excellent wing backs. Rebic would make late runs into the box between
his colleagues, or drift wide and pop up in the wide or half spaces unmarked as well,
meaning that both he and Haller were as likely to create as they were to finish; the numbers
reflect this shared attacking responsibility, too. Crucially, though, Haller did not work alone
– supported both by superb wing backs, and two forwards of real calibre, Frankfurt’s
system got the best out of the French striker and did not overload his playing responsibilities
by asking him to do too much. There is, of course, a danger that West Ham
*could* do just this, and try to get Haller to be all things to all systems. As Michael
Cox pointed out in an article on The Athletic, West Ham’s last few seasons have been marked
by a lack of tactical consistency in their forward options: Arnautovic dropped off to
create and facilitate, Hernandez sniffed out chances in the box but without contributing
much to build-up, and Carroll fed off crosses and laid on chances through flicked-on passes. Three good players on their day, but it meant
that a shift in personnel required West Ham to adjust how they created chances too. If the question is ‘how do we pack all of
that into one forward’, then the answer could well be Haller. As Cox points out: “The
creativity of Arnautovic? [Haller] racked up nine assists last season. The speed of
Hernandez? Very much in evidence. The aerial prowess of Carroll? No-one in Germany won
more aerial duels last season.” Against Manchester City, Haller was deployed
as the central striker in a 4-2-3-1, with Lanzini playing off him, Antonio on the left
to start, and Felipe Anderson to the right. Antonio’s use on the left meant that West
Ham have an aerial out-ball to that side, as well as long to Haller – this sees Lanzini
or Haller moving into the left half space to try to collect flicks towards them. On the right, Anderson’s threat is cutting
inside, and here Haller’s strength and ability to play in others comes to the fore – he
can receive the ball and not just shield it, but actually move it forwards before playing
a pass either inside to Lanzini or an onrushing midfielder, or outside to Anderson – he
can then float wide to provide a passing option or play inside to provide an additional shooting
threat if the ball is returned The issue is that by increasing Haller’s
role in the build-up and utilising his strengths there, West Ham might miss out on his excellent
scoring ability. Although Lanzini can play him in and he can get on the end of crosses
from wide, Haller’s natural tendency is to involve himself – the fluidity and shared
responsibilities of Frankfurt’s front three meant that Rebic and Jovic could take on the
link role or drift wide to cross – at West Ham, Haller could find himself too involved
in build-up without the support of other players to get on the end of his creative work. One solution is to play Haller alongside a
second striker, or just off one, in reality – and with Albian Ajeti, West Ham have an
ideal candidate for this. Ajeti is capable of holding up the ball and linking play too,
just as Jovic could, and so Haller and him in tandem would solve a number of issues.
This could see a switch to a midfield diamond, or a very staggered 4-2-3-1 with Haller as
a sort of advanced, aggressive 10. Indeed, West Ham could even set up in a similar vein
to Frankfurt – with Cresswell or Masuaku on the left and Fredericks or Zabaleta on
the right, with Rice anchoring midfield alongside a more creative, dynamic player, and Felipe
Anderson or Lanzini playing off Ajeti and Haller. It’s a big call to change a team’s approach
based on one player, and to use a system that changes from Pellegrini’s favoured 4-2-3-1
to one he has never used – but it could just be the best way to get the most from
West Ham’s best player.

96 thoughts on “How Should West Ham Use Sébastien Haller?

  1. 4 2 3 1 basicly he has to play like giroud did at arsenal. he is a complete 9 in that system its makes west hams def and midfield strogner defensivly and still allows them to be potent in attack, 3 at back could work but i dont see them having the manager or players to do that. best option is the 4 2 3 1 if hes more consistent then giroud he will be fine.

  2. Haller's natural tendency to involve himself in the buildup is why West Ham should play with 2 strikers. Chicha would fit because he would get in the right positions to finish and Antonio offer strength and the speed and willingness to make runs in behind.

  3. This is a solid video but I have to disagree with the end result. Sure this system might maximise Haller but it is also important to maximise Anderson and Lanzini who are also top players. While there might be some work needed a 4-2-3-1 is the best system for playing to the strengths of all three of them, not to mention Yarmelenko when he comes back. If West Ham need to change to this formation just for him then to me that would make him a pretty questionable signing.
    But imo they just need some time together. It is hard to judge any team based on how they play against City so I think we need to see what they are capable of when all of their players are available or at least their three best attackers before deciding that they need to change things up or that Haller isn't being used well

  4. I’m so disappointed that Liverpool didn’t make a bid for him. He’s a great player but moving to West Ham is a big downgrade for him. They spent so much on attackers but not their defense.

  5. Cannot see Pellegrini going 5 at the back. If he was ever going to play it he would have done it in his career by now I think.

  6. I really hope West Ham does a great season , i have a soft spot for their players, but I highly doubt they will succeed. All these players have a big ego , i see no alchemy between them. Wait and see i wish them the best.

  7. Where do see West Ham going this season. They always seem to be a club that's "too good to go down" (arguably) but not really good enough to challenge for UEL spots. Would a cup run be beneficial?

  8. They should use a 433 like Man City almost. Lanzini and fornals could both almost play as 10s off Haller with wingers cutting inside as well. That would mean rice doesn't need a worse DM partner with him. And then it's just on the fullbacks, but I'd play Antonio and cress well in that style who still aren't really good enough

  9. Frankfurt fan here.. it was clearly visible that our team's perfomance suffered severely when Haller was injured. Even though he is lethal in front of goal, finishing is not his best quality. He needs to be the target man, then distribute the ball to the wings or play a 1-2 with the other strikers. He will need help by forward rushing players. Playing on his own upfront, his qualities are wasted. Actually WHU have the fitting player in their squad: Chicharito (Ajeti could get there).

  10. Haller is an exciting signing. But my personal signing of the summer for West Ham has to be Fornals. He looks damn amazing and could be offloaded in a few years for a good chunk of cash if he continues his positive development.

  11. I really think that Haller will make a huge impact on West Ham although he would have been amazing with Arnautovic

  12. West ham fan here, great video. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pellegrini is a very stubborn manager however so I doubt he will look to move away from the 4231 even when it isn't working. Our terrible defence should see us at least try a back 3 at some point especially since our fullbacks are poor defensively but I doubt Pellegrini will.
    Our main problems right now are an imbalance in the team when we start too many flair players, the midfield gets easily overrun because Rice has to defend all alone. And also we lack directness when in possession without Antonio (a player very underrated by almost everyone). If we can sort out our defence and get players near Haller to feed off him and create chances we will do well this season.

  13. Jovic was involved in 22 Bundesliga goals last season (5 in one match against Fortuna)- Moved to Real Madrid
    Haller was involved in 24 Bundesliga goals last season and is more of a team player – Moved to West Ham

    Yes,Jovic's 4 years younger,but Haller deserved a transfer to the better club than West Ham

  14. Simple. Just pair Him with Antonio/Hernandez with Anderson/Lanzini/Fornals as a Hole player in a 4-4-2 diamond.

  15. Can't believe he left us for a mid table club like West Ham. He's good enough for a Top 6 team in the Prem. He was better than Jovic last season. The fact that Newcastle paid the same amount for Joelinton and also bought Willems(one of the worst players ever playing for us) from us makes me feel sorry for all Newcastle fans. West Ham on the other hand made great signings, if they get a better manager they could become 7th.

  16. I felt so bad when Chelsea got the transfer ban, because I wanted us to get him. At the time I still thought Hazard was going to stay. And pictured Haller supported by Hudson-Odoi, Hazard and Pulisic in a 4-2-3-1. Then Hudson get a ruptured Achilles tendon, Chelsea get a transfer ban, and Hazard leaves.

  17. Thanks, Haller is a very promising signing I just worry like many of our other hugely talented attacking signing over recent seasons we won't get the best out of them and yes tactical inconsistency up front has been an issue.

  18. I think his position and the position of firmino resembles,,, hope klopp sign him to rest firmino responsibility

  19. My favorite trio was Chicha, Bellarabi, and Brandt. Anyone who watched that trio at Leverkusen would see why Chicha was special around teammates that played to his strengths. Sad to see he's been basically forgotten due to playing in systems that don't suit him well.

  20. As a West Ham fan it’s frustrating to see the inconsistency but I believe switching to a system with 3 centre back and chica and haller as the strikers would help prevent some of these inconsistencies great video and agree with what you said

  21. I’d absolutely love west ham to play a 5atb, we have fullbacks who are fantastic going foward, and we are shit at defending, this literally suits our players so well, when moyes came in, masuaku was one of the best lwb’s in the league

  22. Haller will light it up this season, IMO a better all around player to Jovic. Fantastic signing by West Ham, I wanted him at United!

  23. I think Fornals behind and Anderson and Haller up front. Rotate in Chicha, Lanzini, and Antonio and that’d be a formidable attack.

  24. West Ham's weakness in central midfield means it's very difficult for them to play two up front, or three up front. They will generally play five in midfield with 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1, and Haller will play up front on his own, with the midfield attacking three bombing up to support him. If this doesn't work, then West Ham will have to buy a proper box-to-box midfielder. Wilshere and Fornals simply don't have the physicality. Noble, maybe, but he's getting on and is currently injured.

  25. Sebastian Haller is natural striker, who can either go directly to goal or distribute ball to advancing forwards or midfielders

  26. A straightforward and supremely effective post player to feed ball into who will create scoring chance for others or himself shoot on goal

  27. Haller is really really good, if West Ham isnt able to make good use of him, its a big fuck up by them. He Reminds me alot of Giroud, but even more complete, with a lot more pace, coming from a Arsenal Fan.

  28. Its a shame Haller moved to West Ham, the Eintracht Team last Season was one of the most exciting Teams in the Bundesliga in the last 20 years. Look at what Perfomances players like hasebe, kostic and Rode delivered last year, its a shame they didnt win the europe cup. Eintracht has always had amazing Supporters but what went down in the last 2 Season still lacks an Explanation. I am not an SGE fan, eventhough i support them. I habe been a VFB Fan since i was w years old, but still i habe nothing but admiration for the club.

  29. For bundesliga fans the (inevitable) breakup of that front 3 of Rebic, Haller, and Jovic is a real tragedy. I hope they find success in their new situations but it's hard not to think that the buying clubs underestimated how much of that potency came from a very specific and largely nontransferable chemistry

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