Barry Riley, London

Barry Riley, from London, offers an interesting solution to the task of fitting every one of West Ham's attacking flair players into a structured formation…

New formation for our host of attacking talent

I'm just back from some time abroad and during that period I have seen a lot of Spain's Deportivo La Coruna, who got to the quarter finals of the Champion's League. They play with a formation that I believe would suit West Ham with our abundance of attacking midfielders.
The coach Javier Irureta plays 4-2-3-1. The back four comprises two full-backs (usually Pablo and Romero) who are not scared to come forward, and two doughty centre-halves in Naybet and Donato (pictured) who know their place is at the back covering. They are assisted in this by two sitting midfielders (the Brazilians Emerson and Mauro Silva) who cover their centre-halves but can pass well and get forward to support the attack when necessary (like when they were 0-3 down at home against PSG!).
Ahead of Emerson and Mauro are not one, not two, but THREE inventive midfielders. In the centre orchestrating everything is another Brazilian, the highly talented Djalminha. He is the play-maker but is flanked by the Spaniards Tristan and Victor who can also make things happen with their passing and runs from deep. That leaves just the one man up front - usually the nippy Dutchman Roy Makaay but occasionally the tall Uruguayan Pandiano who is excellent in the air (as his second half hat-trick of headers that rescued his team against PSG proves).
This is a formation that is not only superbly balanced - there is width, solidity and flair - but also tremendously exciting. Their keeper (international Francisco Molina) is a bit dodgy but that just adds to the fun.
Taking our present squad, West Ham could line up in a similar shape something like this:


Song   I Pearce   Foxe   Winterburn

           Carrick     Lomas

     Sinclair    Cole      Di Canio


With Cole (or Lampard even) orchestrating things from the centre and Trevor and Paolo attacking from the flanks we would not only scare the hell out of most defences but also ensure that poor old Freddie (or Defoe next season?) does not get as isolated as he has been during this season.
I'm not happy with Lomas in our defensive midfield pairing to be honest, since the man needs to be a good passer and Steve is anything but that, despite his great defensive qualities. A top notch defensive midfielder is a priority this summer, I feel, unless Raggy Soma can do that job. Some may also think that Carrick is wasted in what appears a 'holding' role but I assure you that Emerson (the ex-Boro player) is sensational in this position and often finds himself in good positions to have a punt. Carrick with his effective long passing could excel there.
I think the back four also needs an overhaul. Schemmel has impressed me and Winterburn has to be Hammer of the Year but I think we can do better. A lot of people advocate Adam Newton but he can't even get into the Notts County team! Maybe Minto will be okay when he comes back but would you bet on it? Song has also failed to impress but maybe his time will come.
Foxe we have seen little of so we can only hope that he will be the man to organise our rear guard. Certainly early appearances have been encouraging. How wonderful it would be if we still had Rio there to dominate the back as Donato does so effortlessly for the Galicians!
Harry has already said that he intends to go 4-4-2 next a season. Let's hope he is flexible enough to realise that there are also some other interesting ways of employing  our talented players in front of a flat back four!