David Moyes is planning to build his second West Ham side around a five-man defence, Football Insider understands.
The Hammers manager has been trying out a three centre-back system complemented by wing-backs in training this week ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
A West Ham source has told Football Insider that Moyes is ready to make the system his favoured tactical shape for the coming months if it works well.
The Scot believes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, fit-again Winston Reid and even left-back Aaron Cresswell can all thrive in a three-man defence.
During his first West Ham spell, Moyes favoured a four-man back line.
But he believes the players he has now at his disposal can be more effective in a system similar to the one that Chris Wilder has used with such success at Bramall Lane this season.
United are renowned for their three centre-back system in which the trio at the back often overlap positions.
Moyes trialled a three-man defence in last weekend’s FA Cup third round tier at League One outfit Gillingham, which his side comfortably won 2-0.
Diop, Balbuena and Ogbonna were the three centre-backs selected, with Arthur Masuaku and Ryan Fredericks in the wing-back positions.
However, an injury to Fredericks last weekend is set to sideline him until at least late February.
It remains to be seen whether Moyes believes veteran Pablo Zabaleta is capable of playing wing-back like the younger and far quicker Fredericks.