It was a proper entertaining game today between Lewes Ladies and West Ham Ladies. West Ham took a 2-0 lead before Lewes answered with seven goals back. Quite an extraordinary turnaround.
For those who want a proper match report please look on sentherforward because I am gonna do a short analysis and nothing else here.
West Ham played in a 4-5-1 system that was quite stable and sometimes rigid that left the lone striker quite isolated at times. You can see what James Marrs is trying to do in term of football:
Patient build-up, attacking play from the back, short passing to get out of their defensive third. This kind of gameplan takes months to put into place and I would say at least three months will be needed to set things up as it is a quite a different philosophy from Marc Nurse.
Lewes played in a formation that I never managed to decipher to be honest. The base looked like a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield / 4-3-3 in defensive phase. While in attacking phase, there was a wing back on the right, three centre backs with a defensive midfielder dropping deep, the number 8 in a free role and the left winger roaming down the wing.
Lewes pressed very high on the pitch to counter West Ham’s passing game and it worked quite well as the home team created many chances early in the game without scoring.
Against the run of play West Ham managed to score two goals from two attacking moves. They were very clinical, every time they managed to go through the first line of Lewes defensive system. Once they got through that line West Ham found pockets of space for the forwards to run at.
On the other side, Lewes scored via multiple rockets from 25 yards or more and via set pieces. They took advantage on set pieces of the quite small West Ham goalkeeper who was previously at Watford and at Middlesex Centre Of Excellence.
She had a very good game, making many important saves but in term of shot going just under the bar, there was nothing she could do.
Personally I will always prefer a smaller goalie rather than a Karen Bardsley who is not very good technically with her feet but can save higher ball, altough she tends to drop crosses as well. The goalkeeper type depends on the football you try to play. See Joe Hart who is not good enough to play for City as his set of skills is not adapted to Guardiola’s football.
Talking about set pieces, West Ham did not defend them well. If your goalkeeper is not the tallest, you should at least be prepared defensively to help her out and West ham did not do it and conceded many goals.
Lewes were very good in pressing and maximizing the potential weaknesses of their opposition and really clinical on set pieces. They scored some fantastic goals, one of them can be seen here
It will be interesting to see how these two teams develop throughout the season and if they can be around in the promotion to FA WSL 2 race.