Football Manager Gaming

What are your tips for managing West Ham in FM22?

West Ham flag
Hammer time: tips for managing West Ham in FM22 (Image by jorono from Pixabay)

The Football Manager 2022 (FM22) beta is out, and if you’re not one of the 98% of players making an instant beeline for the Newcastle job and the untold riches that await there, you might be looking for another Premier League club to manage. David Moyes has done a ridiculously good job of turning West Ham from relegation fodder into a top-six side. If you fancy taking the club to “the next level” here are some tips on managing West Ham in FM22.

I’ve broken this article down into ‘Problems’ that need dealing with as soon as you take charge and ‘Opportunities’ to take advantage of. This is all based on the beta of FM22, not the full release, but it’s unlikely that much will change.

Problems

You’ve only got one striker

West Ham start FM22 with only recognised striker, Michail Antonio, and as any West Ham fan will tell you, he’s made of balsa wood and china. After my first proper game of the season, Antonio was out injured for four weeks, leaving me entirely strikerless. Nikola Vlasic can play up top, but he looks about as dangerous as a bean bag up there. Before the first window closes, you must get a new striker in. There’s just one problem with that…

Tiny transfer budget

West Ham start the game with only £8 million in the transfer kitty. Hot take: that’s not going to be enough to tempt Dortmund to part with Haaland. Unless you raise money from player sales (see The Rice situation, below), you’re going to be shopping in the striker bargain bins. I generally avoid making specific player recommendations, because it feels a bit like cheating, but I’m just saying Christian Benteke is available from Crystal Palace for less than £1m, and he’s not actually that bad if you play to his strengths (more on that later). He’s nabbed three goals in six games for me, with a couple of assists thrown in. Look:

No scouting department/Director of Football

West Ham is, of course, the country’s best Sunday League team. Which is why when you arrive at The London Stadium, you’ll find no director of football and precisely one scout waiting for you. So, if you were hoping the scouts would have a £2m Serbian wonderkid striker up their sleeves to solve the Antonio problem, think again. Set about hiring scouts and a Director of Football right away.

Ageing squad

The Hammers have a decent team, as we’ll come to later, but they’re not the TikTok generation. Fabianski in goal is 36. Dawson, Ogbonna and Cresswell in the defence are all 30+. Captain Mark Noble is on his last legs, as is Yarmalenko. Antonio is the wrong side of 30. The spine of the side is, frankly, creaking.

You’re going to need to address that sooner rather than later. Areola is the backup keeper, on loan from PSG, but he’s 28 and as good as Fabianski. I’ve made him my first-choice keeper, with a view to triggering the £13m optional future fee in the summer. Meanwhile, my first bit of transfer business was to sign a younger centre-back (Moussa Niakahte) and ship out the 33-year-old Ogbonna, as Villa were willing to part with £6m quid for him.

Noble and Yarmalenko will go either in January or the end of the season, and will be replaced with young ‘uns.

The Rice situation

Declan Rice is by far and away West Ham’s best player – and the club’s most saleable asset. He’s valued at between £72m – £82m at the start of the game, but if you can beat off the vultures circling in the first window (Newcastle chief amongst them), it’s likely his value will rise to £100m or beyond by the end of the season.

Unless you get Champions League football by the end of the first season (and that will take some doing), you’re probably going to have to part with Rice in the summer of 2022. That’s going to create a big problem, with fellow team leader Noble also due to be shipped out, so you’re going to need to replace Rice with a decent midfielder with strong leadership skills. I’d reinvest the rest of the Rice money on a long-term replacement for Antonio.

OPPORTUNITIES

The first team is decent

West Ham didn’t fluke their way into Europe last season, as the real-life start to this season has shown. The first XI is more than good enough to compete in the top half of the table. Zouma is a very strong CB, Cresswell and Coufal are decent full-backs, Rice and Soucek are as good a midfield duo as any outside of the top four, and Antonio will bang in the goals if his hamstrings stay intact.

The supporting squad is the worry, with a real lack of depth behind the first XI. If you can create strength in depth, there’s no reason why West Ham shouldn’t become European football regulars.

Great at set pieces

West Ham scored more goals from set-pieces than any other side last season, and they’ve only got stronger in that department. Zouma is a big target for free-kicks and corners, joining Soucek, Dawson, Diop and Rice in the big lump brigade. Add big Benteke to that list, if you invest some spare change in him.

Cresswell is excellent at both corners and free-kicks, giving you the delivery needed to hit the big lads. Niakahte, my new CB, also has a tremendous (19) long throw, which is another weapon you can exploit with so many big fellas to aim at. Make sure you set up your set-pieces properly, assign the takers, and get them worked on in training. It definitely pays dividends, as one of the new data charts proves.

West Ham in FM22

Low expectations

West Ham’s owners are as much loved as an ingrowing toenail. However, the virtual Sullivan/Gold are pretty reasonable chaps. The first season demands are a top-half finish, which shouldn’t be beyond a competent manager, and modest progress in the cups. The challenge will come in later seasons, if the porn barons don’t loosen the purse strings, but you should have at least a season or two to start moulding the squad, with the Rice money letting you put your stamp on the team when you decide to cash in.

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

4 Comments

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • As a fan took on the challenge. Sold Diop to the more money than sense Newcastle for 30 Million which let me bring in a few players but never really solved the striker issue as the one I brought in wasn’t much good (Enas Unal from Celtic) but kept him for 4 years and sold him for 100% profit. At the end of the season I sold Rice to Liverpool after their third bid for 120M and Benrahma to Southampton for 30M which allowed me to reshape the squad and bring in Moussa Dembele from OL for 13.5M for my striker who won the Golden Boot the next season. Now in 2024/25 with still Fornals, Vlasic (a real star), Soucek, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell, Bowen, from the present squad and competing for top 4 the last couple of years as well as in Champions League and won the Carabao Cup 3 times. The trick I think with West Ham is to accept you need to do a bit of an overhaul and if you can wait a season and sell Rice for the 100 mill plus and one or two others for decent values you can get somewhere near 200M to spend and re-build. The scouting is an issue though, as are the coaches who need improving fairly quickly.

      • Cresswell is a bit part player and also an U18’s coach – sent him to get some badges as it’s his last season before he retires I suspect.

      • So just an update. Cresswell retired at the end of 25/26 now a full time coach with the U18’s. He got a nice testimonial with Ipswich and as luck would have it, we also played them last game of the season, us safe second, them bottom. Gave him 80 minutes so he could come off and lap up the applause. Also managed to buy Rice back now for 85M as Liverpool didn’t make Champions League and he was upset. Still not won the league as Man City with Haaland just romped it, but on top in 26/27 10 games in, fingers crossed as my midfield of Bellingham and Rice dominate matches, Also got Grealish out wide on loan from Man City and Bowen on the other flank still and always on the brink of the national side but never seems to get picked after getting watched. New chairman but not lots of cash and getting myself in a bit of a Leeds situation from the past where still owing money for transfers of Rice and Bellingham over the next couple of seasons so hoping some of the younger players develop well to balance out the cash if I can sell them. If I don’t keep making Europe it could become a problem like Leeds did way back when.

Advert

Advert

Advert

%d bloggers like this: