Michail Antonio delivered a worse display than Jarrod Bowen against Manchester United with the West Ham striker often invisible in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
David Moyes had opted to start the pair in a two-strong strike force to make up for the loss of Jesse Lingard, who has four goals and two assists in six games for the club, as he was unable to feature against his parent side due to the terms of his loan transfer.
Lingard was ultimately a big miss for the Irons as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side often dominated proceedings, with an early corner won by Antonio as good as things got for the visiting side in the first half.
The corner won by Antonio eventually posed no threat to Dean Henderson’s clan sheet, as Mark Noble’s in-swinging cross failed to find a teammate at the far post after a mini-pileup involving Craig Dawson and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Referee Martin Atkinson saw no issue with the collisions but Moyes saw plenty of problems with the performance of his attacking options, with West Ham sloppy in most of their transitions.
“It was really poor. When we broke in the first half, I thought our play was really, really poor… and that led to not having sustained attacks and we could not keep [the ball], so our play on the break was really poor,” the Hammers boss said after the game, via quotes by football.london.
Moyes added: “We thought tonight that the way we would play with two up, Jarrod and Michail, as two forwards to start with, we thought that might give them a problem to start with, so I saw that as being positive in a different way. But, ultimately, we got better as the game went on when we brought on Manu [Lanzini] and Said [Benrahma].”
Football.london likewise took issue with the performances of Antonio and Bowen, yet awarded the former Hull City winger – playing out of his natural position – a lesser match rating at five out of 10 to the £70,000-per-week striker’s score of six.
Bowen was noted to have earned a lesser grade as he ‘failed to get into the game a huge amount’, while Antonio ‘did well with what little ball he had’ and ran the channels well to chase down the Manchester United defenders.
Yet Bowen was not worse than Antonio, but rather the opposite, as the £22m January 2020 signing produced considerably more in attack than his strike partner despite seeing as much – or rather as little – of the ball.
Across the 90 minutes, Bowen registered 43 touches to Antonio’s 40, and used his time in possession to offer twice as many shots (2) and create twice as many goalscoring chances (2), per SofaScore.
Only the Irons’ goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski (31), registered fewer touches than Antonio among those who played the full 90 minutes for the visiting side on Sunday, while Tomas Soucek took a team-high three shots and Bowen offered a team-high number of key passes.
Bowen also made three successful dribbles from four, while Antonio lost the ball with his sole attempt of the night. He delivered two accurate crosses from four, as well, to the 30-year-old centre-forward’s zero accurate efforts from two.
For all of Antonio’s hard work, he failed to offer a single successful tackle, interception or clearance and was dribbled past once, while 24-year-old Bowen offered two interceptions.
Altogether, their efforts meant Bowen earned a 7.2 match rating from SofaScore – the third-highest by a West Ham player – while Antonio registered a 6.4 – the joint-worst by any player for either side who featured at any stage.
Moyes needed Antonio and Bowen to do much of the heavy lifting in attack against Manchester United with Lingard unable to feature, but it was the latter who gave the most while the former frequently proved invisible and let his head coach down.