Jarrod Bowen left West Ham United wanting more quality from their wide forward as David Moyes’ side beat London rivals Crystal Palace 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The Irons started the slower of the two sides and fell behind inside just the third minute through Wilfried Zaha, but rallied quickly with a Tomas Soucek brace to flip the script and go on to claim a sixth straight win across all competitions.
Craig Dawson rounded out the scoring for the visiting Hammers 20 minutes into the second period when he headed home Bowen’s corner, with the former Hull City attacker showing great skill from the dead ball situations on a night his open play actions were off the pace.
Bowen has proven a firm favourite of West Ham boss Moyes since his £22m arrival from the Tigers last January, with the 24-year-old starting 29 of a possible 32 Premier League games, including 19 of 20 thus far this term.
His second-half assist for Dawson’s goal marked Bowen’s third of the top-flight campaign to take his total goal contribution to eight thanks to five goals, as he looks to rediscover his form shown in front of the net from before the festive period.
Bowen never truly looked likely to find a route past Vicente Guaita himself during Tuesday night’s showdown at Selhurst Park, with Gary Cahill doing well to get his body in the way of the £96,000-per-week maestro’s 55th-minute strike.
It proved to be his only shot of the match, with Guaita reacting quickest to scramble over the ball when Michail Antonio’s header from six-yards out fell just short of rebounding to Bowen’s feet.
Antonio also endured a somewhat off night after back-to-back goals to beat Burnley and West Bromwich Albion last week, as the striker should have bagged a brace in the first-half only to see his efforts hit the woodwork on both occasions. Guaita’s close-range wonders also ensured the 30-year-old squandered a glaring opportunity in the second period.
But West Ham were left wanting more from Bowen most of all as the £25m-rated ace, who Hull boss Grant McCann lauds as an “exceptional” talent, was robbed of possession in first-half stoppage time as he sought to break into the Eagles’ box.
Despite his incredible work rate, Bowen often lacked the skill needed on the ball to beat his marker at Selhurst Park, and ultimately left the field in the 81st-minute without a successful dribble to his name after losing out in his only attempt, per SofaScore.
Bowen has averaged 1.2 successful dribbles a game with a 61% success rate in Premier League fixtures this term, but was unable to show that level of talent while matched up with Tyrick Mitchell, who won six of his seven ground duels compared to the West Ham man’s two out of six hit rate.
Moyes further saw Bowen misdirect four of his six attempted crosses, as he carved out more opportunities to cause Cahill and Cheikhou Kouyate issues than he normal can with an average 1.1 accurate balls into the box this term. Yet his efforts came without the accuracy to find Antonio or the marauding Soucek.
West Ham will need Bowen at his best when Liverpool visit the London Stadium on Sunday, as a win over Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will see the Irons solidify their place above the champions in the Premier League table.
Andrew Robertson may also be there for the taking at the weekend, after a shoddy showing in the FA Cup against Manchester United on Sunday – winning zero of his five duels and being dribbled past four times up against Mason Greenwood – for his worst SofaScore match rating (5.9) since Liverpool were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City last July.