West Ham United defeated a burnt out Tottenham Hotspur last weekend at White Hart Lane - and while Sam Allardyce has never been presented as a tactical genius, this weekend he was just that.
The Hammers beat their London rivals 3-0 away from home - and Allardyce's tactics were spot on.
He opted to play a 4-3-3 False nine most commonly used at FC Barcelona when Pep Guardiola was in charge. He used this formation with Lionel Messi playing as the False nine to confuse defences and make it harder for them to mark.
Sam needed to find a formation he could play without relying on the injured Andy Carroll. It's taken a few games but that may be the answer for the time being. With a shortage of strikers he decided to play this formation placing all his trust in young Ravel Morrison to play as both a striker and a midfielder.
Allardyce must have spotted a weakness in the Spurs defence - and if he did, it was exploited superbly. The Tottenham defence were flummoxed by the role that Morrison entertained. The CB pairing of Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen could not stop him and struggled all afternoon.
On the counter attack it was even harder to deal with Ravel, he ran from his own half to finish off a well carried out counter attack late one. The former-United academy star started off the counter so deep the centre backs were unable to mark him and when he ran at the already damaged defence they continued to lay off and provided him with the opportunity to chip the ball past Hugo Lloris.
With both Ricardo Vaz Te and Stewart Downing also enjoying influential games, Morrison was able to let his football do the talking.
So could this work for other clubs?
Well the False nine position has only been executed correctly consistently by the best in the world - it is a difficult position to play requiring a lot of work and concentration.
However a player with the right attributes may be able to play this position - and playing against weak defences with this formation may be ideal.
Pep Guardiola opted to use this unique set-up for the first time as Bayern Munich coach against Manchester City last week in the Champions League. Thomas Mueller occupied the role - and he is credited by many for his work rate which is why he was perfect. It was a tactical success against a weak City defence with Bayern defeating them 3-1 away from home; Mueller was on the score-sheet.
The False nine remit is a challenging position but with West Ham's tactical victory last weekend maybe others will test this exclusive formation in an attempt to outwit their opponents.
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