West Ham head to title chasing Manchester City in the Premier League on Wednesday night and have the challenge to stopping striker Erling Haaland.
West Ham manager David Moyes has told his side to get physical and kick striker Erling Haaland in a tactic to try and stop the Manchester City talisman. With 50 goals to his name this season the Norwegian striker has proved unstoppable and led his side’s title charge under manager Pep Guardiola.
Wednesday’s clash is important at both ends of the Premier League table as City look for a ninth league win on the bounce in their title race against Arsenal. Meanwhile, West Ham sit just four points above the relegation zone and a shock win would leave a clear gap between themselves and the bottom four.
Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as City beat the Hammers 2-0 in August and Moyes has accepted his side might resort to dirty tactics to stop him this time out. Moyes was asked how do you stop Haaland? “Good question,” Moyes said. “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that.” Moyes then accepted that kicking the marksman might be the best tactic.
He added: “Yeah, that might be the best way! You are maybe hoping he has a weakness. That he cannot run or he is not good in the air or his touch is not good. But he is all-round and surrounded by teammates who can provide him with balls in the air, balls through the middle, cut-backs for finishes – and he can finish with his left, right.”
Former central defender Moyes played for Celtic before spending most of his career grafting in the lower divisions of English football and at Dunfermline Athletic in Scotland. Asked if he fancied facing Alan Shearer in his prime or Haaland now Moyes replied: “I probably wouldn’t have been good enough to play against any of them – but I’d have tried to f***ing battle them.
“Shearer would have beat you up as much as you’d have beat Shearer up. Haaland you might be able to try to get into him a bit more. You’d need to try to get as tight as you can, get as physical as you can – and leave a bit on them as often as you could. Sadly you can’t get away with that as much these days but it would be hard to deal with them in any other way.”
Haaland will be hoping for the return of his partner in crime Kevin De Bruyne who was missing from City’s squad against Fulham with manager Guardiola remaining tight-lipped about the injury. The City boss revealed that after Sunday’s game the Belgian international has not returned to training.
He added on Tuesday: “Kevin’s started to move but didn’t train with the team. We have training in a few hours, and we’ll see how they feel.”