It's a funny thing, trying to second guess how West Ham are going to play, because you get the distinct impression that they don't have the faintest idea, either. Having experimented with different formations, introduced new players to the squad and reintroduced old faces they thought they'd left behind, it's not unfair to characterise Slaven Bilic as a coach throwing whatever he can at the nearest wall to see what will stick. Horrific start aside - where results are concerned, at least - what has been worse are the performances - you can almost forgive a side for starting slowing if there's clearly something being build towards, but that couldn't be further from the truth given the evidence presented thus far.
That said, however, West Ham will be boosted by the return of three key players, with Winston Reid, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Diafra Sakho all available for selection. A defensive omnishambles, Reid and Kouyate will go some way to repairing that particular issue, while Sakho will give them an additional source of attacking flair they've been severely lacking.
Having toyed with a couple of different shapes, there are suspicions that the Hammers will line-up in something resembling a 3-4-3 to accommodate the players they have returning. A formation they're far from strangers to, it's a system Bilic has used on and off for this entire reign at the club, having the right type of players to hand in order to make it function as intended. Joe Hart is likely to keep his place in goal despite a reputation that's falling faster than a lead balloon, with Reid, Jose Fonte and Angelo Ogbonna tasked with keeping as many shots away from their increasingly questionable keeper as physically possible.
Out wide, Aaron Cresswell will provide an outlet down the left, while Pablo Zabaleta will do his best to get up and down on the right - but that's not nearly as effective as it may seem on paper. Kouyate will be partnered in midfield by Mark Noble, who will provide their main bridge between defence and attack. Sakho and Michael Antonio will play either side of Javier Hernandez, who'll be going straight down the middle. Perhaps the strongest area of their side, their three up front aren't subtle in the way they attack, but that doesn't detract from the effectiveness of having pace out wide and somebody who can finish in the centre. It's not pretty, but it works - which, funnily enough, could actually be their club motto.
Cresswell, Antonio and Hernandez are their most dangerous players by some distance, and Town will do well to limit their involvement as much as possible. Christopher Lowe has made the leap to the Premier League look more like a short hop, and he'll need to be on form again to keep Antonio quiet. Similarly, it's likely to fall on the shoulders of Christopher Schindler to keep an eye on Javier Hernandez, who's movement in the area remains exceptional. The less room he's afforded, the better - while Jonas Lossl should be prepared to step up and close down through balls that are played in over the top or in behind for him to chase.
On the other hand, though, there are some areas that Town should really target. Jose Fonte hasn't been himself since leaving Southampton, while Pablo Zabaleta is showing every minute of his 32-years. Should those two be left side-by-side on the right side of the home defence, both Lowe and Tom Ince would do well to stand them up one-on-one and use their pace and guile to expose them in full flight. Similarly, there's no reason for Town not to test Joe Hart as much as possible, either - there's a clear flaw in his technique dealing with shots to his left, so taking cracks early and targeting his weaker side could be useful tactic to unsettle him from the off.
As was the case against Crystal Palace, who also played with three at the back, there's an opportunity for Lowe and Tommy Smith to really pile forwards and create overlaps in transition while West Ham are in the process of regaining their shape. There will be room for Ince and Elias Kachunga to tuck inside, too, with Steve Mounie good enough to push and pull their central defensive three out of formation with well timed runs and intelligent positioning. Given their defensive personnel, it might be an idea to play more to feet where Mounie is concerned, too, rather than playing to him in the air, where the Hammers defenders are more comfortable dealing with attacks. Three at the back was a formation designed to cope with 4-4-2 when it was at its height, so it's more than possible to expose it when playing in a different shape, especially with the type of fluidity and work rate Town have become known for under Wagner in the final third.
If the partnership of Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing are allowed to continue, there's every chance they can find space between the lines to create from once more. Kouyate will be chasing them down, but Mark Noble - dependable as he is - has never been the greatest defensive midfielder, so can therefore be easily bypassed by more intelligent footballers. With the home side lacking a natural number ten given Lazini's ongoing fitness issues, there will be less defensive work for Billing and Mooy to do, with a lot of their work likely to come from one of of West Ham's holding pair venturing forwards. With an extra man centrally in the tried and tested 4-2-3-1, Town should look to win that centre ground early, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them dominate possession.
West Ham will be more than keen to sweep the start of their season under the carpet by winning their opening game at home, but while their passions will be high, their nerves will be, too. Town are a side that like to start fast and put sides under pressure with and without the ball, and there are errors to be forced from this Hammers team should they be tested and given no time whatsoever to settle. Their manager is far from secure in his job and the side he puts out still may not be what he deems his best, so Town will again profit from having such confidence in who they are and what they do, with consistency and continuity being central to their early season success.
You can follow Raj Bains on Twitter over on @BainsXIII , and his Huddersfield Town book Underdog is being published in October 2017. It is available to order now, with the opportunity to have the name of your choice printed in a fans list at the back of the book. Please visit www.gnbooks.co.uk or call 01274 735056.