West Ham boss David Moyes faces defensive headache as Eintracht Frankfurt clash looms

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

David Moyes will need to be creative as West Ham chase European glory.

The Hammers are facing a defensive injury crisis as they gear up for their Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Earlier this week, it emerged Issa Diop could miss the rest of the season with the ankle injury he sustained against Burnley last weekend.

West Ham are already without Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, and the injury to Diop leaves Craig Dawson as their only fit centre-half.

All of which leaves Moyes with a major selection headache for Sunday’s game against Chelsea and the first leg of their Euro showdown next Thursday.

Dawson has been in sensational form of late, dominating against Lyon in both legs of their quarter-final tie, but he cannot do it alone.

While none of the options available to Moyes are ideal, there are a number of avenues he could go down.

The foundation of West Ham’s early success under Moyes was built on a back three, with Aaron Cresswell slotting in on the left.

West Ham could switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a back three against Chelsea, especially given the success Arsenal had at Stamford Bridge after matching their hosts’ formation.

Ben Johnson has shown his versatility this season and he played on the right of a back three during the Carabao Cup quarter-final loss at Tottenham back in December.

Full-backs Cresswell and Johnson could line up either side of Dawson in a three, although that would mean a recall at wing-back for Arthur Masuaku, who has started just one game in 2022, a League defeat at Spurs in which he struggled.

 (PA)
(PA)

Johnson could play in a two alongside Dawson, although he is untested in that role.

Another option for Moyes is to drop one of his two central midfielders into the back line and stick with a four-man defence.

Declan Rice can play as a centre-back, but Moyes is wary of losing the England international from his midfield in a move that would weaken a key area of the team.

West Ham were told Tomas Soucek was capable of playing as a central defender when he signed from Slavia Prague, but Moyes would then have to sacrifice the Czech’s goal threat going forward.

Another option is to bring in youngster Aji Alese, though that feels like a step too far with so much on the line.

It is a huge decision for Moyes as West Ham prepare for their biggest fortnight in their recent history.

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