David Moyes’ decision to field West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen as a makeshift centre-forward against Brighton and Hove Albion backfired horrifically on Sunday.
Bowen was fielded in a central role to serve as the middleman between striker Sebastien Haller and captain Mark Noble, with an emphasis on pushing high up the field at the London Stadium.
Instead, most of the work Bowen could muster at home to the Seagulls saw the former Hull City maestro backtrack into Irons territory, before seeing his reputation spared any further damage when replaced by Andriy Yarmolenko at half-time looking absolutely knackered.
West Ham’s inability to dictate the flow of proceedings in the opening 45 minutes hindered Bowen’s hopes of making a move into a central role work, with the £25m-rated playmaker unable to find the needed space to create or the end product when openings developed.
Brighton’s buoyant start left Haller isolated without his attacking partner able to get close, while even Bowen’s deliveries from set-pieces was woeful with the 24-year-old failing to find a teammate with 50 per cent of his four corners taken.
His SofaScore heatmap from the Seagulls affair even showed the right-hand corner flag to be where a majority of Bowen’s 25 touches were taken, as he laboured to a mere seven successful passes, misplaced his two open-play crosses, offered zero key balls and missed the target with his sole shot before being hooked.
The £96,000-per-week forward further lost possession 10 times, though won three of his four ground duels, and will be desperate for the hectic festive schedule to end in order to earn a welcome rest having started all 15 of the Hammers’ Premier League fixtures this term.
Moyes will now be forced to go back to the drawing board ahead of West Ham’s trip to Southampton on Tuesday night looking to resolve his creativity crisis, that left the Hammers forced to come from behind twice to snatch a point at home to Brighton.
Yarmolenko is unlikely to be Moyes’ answer having endured a frustrating cameo against Brighton, as the Ukraine international’s direct runs caused the Seagulls problems but often without a decisive end product.
AND in other news, a West Ham gem who’s “not been at the races” betrayed David Moyes vs Brighton.