Football Manager 2018: West Ham guide, player ratings & tactics

West Ham now have the potential to close the gap on the Premier League’s top six; can you lead The Hammers there on FM 2018?

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

With a magnificent stadium and a strong squad, West Ham are perfectly set up to stay away from relegation battles and close the gap on the top six. Last season they struggled with adjusting to the vast London Stadium, but with more additions over the summer, that should not get in their way this time around. 

In real life, the Hammers have once again faltered, with manager Slaven Bilic losing his job in November. David Moyes has steadied the ship, and they have shown the quality of football they are capable of under the Scotsman. Can you take this further on Football Manager 2018 and look to challenge for silverware and European places?

Philosophies

With West Ham still very much in a period of transition, there are no philosophies you need to follow at the club. This is open for discussion, but we suggest getting a few seasons under your belt before taking the club in a certain direction.

Expectations

West Ham chairman David Sullivan will present you with the expectations for the season. These are adjustable, with the higher targets giving you more money in your transfer budget. The default is to finish mid-table in the Premier League, reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Targeting a top half finish will give you an extra £4 million and aiming for the cup competition quarterfinals will provide an additional £2 million. 

Budget

Transfer £32 million

Wage: £1.72m per week (Current spend: £1.59m)

Formation

West Ham often use a 4-2-3-1 system, but with Manuel Lanzini out injured at the start of the season, you have very few options to play in the number 10 position. Therefore, we have switched to a ‘4-1-3-2 DM Asymmetric’ formation, which is a 4-4-2 with one holding midfielder.

Joe Hart wins the battle for the number one spot, with Pablo Zabaleta, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell in the defence.

Cheikhou Kouyate is the defensive midfielder, as Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang and Marko Arnautovic make up the rest of the midfield. Andy Carroll then partners Javier Hernandez in attack, which should guarantee goals.

On the bench, you should go for Adrian, Jose Fonte, Arthur Masuaku, Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho.

Key players

With some useful additions over the past few seasons, this West Ham side can be a match for any Premier League side.  

Javier Hernandez – CA 4 star (152), PA 4 star (156)

Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez should be your main source of goals, although the Mexican has struggled this season due to a lack of service. The £16 million summer arrival from Bayer Leverkusen has skills of 19 off the ball, 18 professionalism and 17 heading on FM, giving him a current ability rating of 152 and 156 potential. 

Michail Antonio – CA 3.5 star (148), PA 3.5 star (148)

Despite West Ham throwing the cash around in recent years, stalwart of the English game Michail Antonio has been a vital player for The Hammers. The versatile 27-year-old can operate as a wide midfielder, winger, striker, attacking midfielder and can even fill in at wing-back making him a serious asset to your side. He has reached his peak with his 148 CA, with attributes of 18 natural fitness, 17 heading and 16 stamina. 

Manuel Lanzini – CA 3.5 star (145), PA 4 star (160)

Manuel Lanzini has slowly improved since first arriving at Upton Park at 2015, and is now vital to West Ham’s progression at the London Stadium. The Argentine is still only 24, and his 145 current ability score on the game can improve to an impressive 160 PA. He offers the side 16 acceleration, 16 agility and 16 dribbling, making him a serious danger with the ball at his feet.

Young talent

West Ham one of the most prestigious academy’s in the country. World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters as well as fellow England internationals Sir Trevor Brooking, Paul Ince, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe all came through the ‘Academy of Football’. 

Domingos Quina – CA 1.5 star (85), PA 3-4 star (130-160)

17-year-old attacking midfielder Domingos Quina has flirted with the West Ham first team, making four appearances in cup competitions this season. With a shortage in that department at the club, you may have to call on him this season, but with a CA of just 85, he needs some development. His potential can rise to somewhere 130 and 160 which make him a real asset in years to come.

Anouar El Mhassani – CA 1 star (73), PA 3-4 star (130-160)

Talented winger Anouar El Mhassani joined the club from Ajax in the summer, having only just turned 16. The Dutchman has featured for the U18 side this season, and with a natural flair to his game, he could provide some X-factor when he reaches the first team. On FM 18, he has a 73 CA with the potential to reach at least 130. 

Toni Martinez – CA 2 star (110), PA 2.5-3.5 star (120-150)

Toni Martinez has a fantastic record for the West Ham U23 side, netting 24 goals in 27 games. With that form, he will surely receive more first team opportunities, but a loan spell at Oxford United last year wasn’t a complete success. This season he can show his worth, and show you his 110 current ability rating can reach a potential as high as 150. 

Team report


Strengths Weaknesses
Right wing depth Goalkeeper depth
Youth prospects Overall depth
Striker depth Decisions
Aggression Passing
Jumping reach
Centre backdDepth
Leadership
Star defenders (Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta)
Star goalkeeper (Joe Hart)
Work rate
Teamwork
Transfer budget
Wage budget

Dynamics

Team leaders –  Mark Noble (C), James Collins, Winston Reid

Highly influential – Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Hernandez, Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew, Jose Fonte, Cheikhou Kouyate

The most prominent new feature in Football Manager 2018 is Dynamics. This panel shows the atmosphere inside the dressing room, and you can view the social groups and hierarchy in your squad. You must realise the knock-on effect your words and actions can have on other members of the side, so tread carefully when dealing with the more influential players in the dressing room. 

Transfer targets

£32 million is a nice amount of cash in your transfer budget, and you should use these funds to bring in one more player to compete for a first team place.

Right midfielder – Lucas Vazquez (CA 148, PA 156)

As things stand, Michail Antonio is the only player in your squad comfortable on the right hand side. If you can find another to add strength and depth to the side then you can perhaps target a top eight finish this season. Lucas Vazquez doesn’t feature regularly at Real Madrid and would be open to a move, and you can pick the 26-year-old up £23 million in the transfer window. His wages of £64,000 may be a touch pricey, but it is worth it for his 148 CA and 156 PA. 

Alternative options

  • Alessandro Florenzi – Age 26, Roma, CA 154, PA 162, Value: £25m, Wage: £54k
  • Felipe Anderson – Age 24, Lazio, CA 143, PA 165, Value: £25m, Wage: £38k
  • Federico Bernardeschi – Age 23, Juventus, CA 152, PA 172, Value: £23m, Wage: £32k
  • Antonio Candreva – Age 30, Inter, CA 151, PA 158, Value: £19m, Wage: £70k

Players to sell

The squad is well balanced at West Ham, so no established first team named need to leave the club.

Doneil Henry

It’s a surprise to see young centre back Doneil Henry in the first team at West Ham, and at the age of 24 there is not much point keeping the Canadian international. He is the fifth choice central defender at the club, and with a 116 CA and 136 PA, you should cash in on him. You should look to take £2m for Henry, saving on your wages by £15,000 a week.

Finances

The financial picture at West Ham looks good as they reap the benefits of moving into a stadium they didn’t need to construct. The overall balance of the club is increasing, but the profits will gradually turn to a loss towards the end of the season. Your transfer budget looks to be in good health next season where you are set to have £90 million at your disposal. 

Make the transition

The new stadium was the first step for West Ham, with the talented signings following. Next up is to make this new-look side gel, and then you can begin to think about trophies and European football. Treat your first season as a trial run, with a top half finish the minimum goal. In 12 months’ time you should be equipped to focus on one of the cup competitions, especially if you add some top class talent.

West Ham first team squad, player role and ratings

Player Age Pos Role Duty Role Ability CA/
PA
Starting lineup
Joe Hart 30 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3.5 star 146/
163
Pablo Zabaleta 32 DR Wing-back Defend 3.5 star 141/
163
Winston Reid 29 DCR Central defender/
defensive centre back
Defend/
Stopper/
Cover
3.5 star 143/
147
Angelo Ogbonna 29 DCL Ball playing defender Defend 3.5 star 141/
152
Aaron Cresswell 27 DL Full-back Support 3.5 star 138/
145
Cheikhou Kouyate 27 DMCR Defensive midfielder/
ball winning midfielder
Defend/
Support
3.5 star 141/
141
Michail Antonio 27 MR Winger Support 3.5 star 148/
148
Pedro Obiang 25 MCL Deep lying playmaker Defend 4 star 145/
156
Marko Arnautovic 28 ML Winger Attack 3.5 star 147/
147
Javier Hernandez 29 STCR Advanced forward Attack 4 star 152/
156
Andy Carroll 28 STCL Target man Support 3.5 star 138/
146
Substitutes
Adrian 30 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3 star 132/
139
Jose Fonte 33 D (R)
WB (R)
Ball playing defender/
defensive centre back
Defend/
Any
d.5 star 141/
146
Arthur Masuaku 23 D (L)
WB (L)
M (L)
Full-back Attack 3 star 133/
150
Mark Noble 30 DM
M (C)
Deep lying/
advanced playmaker
Defend/
Support
3 star 133/
142
Edimilson Fernandes 21 M (RLC)
AM (RLC)
Advanced/
deep lying playmaker
Support 2.5 star 126/
<170
Andre Ayew 27 M (RL)
AM (RLC)
ST (C)
Winger Attack/
Support
3.5 star 140/
143
Diafra Sakho 27 ST (C) Advanced forward/
target man
Attack 3 star 134/
143
Reserves
James Collins 33 D (C) Defensive centre back Any 3 star 130/
134
Sam Byram 23 D (R)
M (R)
AM (R)
Full-back Attack 3 star 127/
145
Sead Haksabanovic 18 M (RL)
AM (RLC)
Inside forward Support 2 star 110/
<160
Injured
Doneil Henry 24 D (C) Defensive centre back Any 2 star 116/
136
Manuel Lanzini 24 M (C)
AM (RLC)
Advanced playmaker Attack 3.5 star 145/
160

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020

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