Manuel Lanzini betrayed David Moyes with a horrific performance in West Ham United’s narrow FA Cup third round victory over non-league Stockport County on Monday night.
The Irons edged their way into the hat for the fourth round draw with a 1-0 win at Edgeley Park thanks to a late guided header from Watford loanee Craig Dawson, as Michail Antonio struggled to find his shooting boots as the forward continued his return from injury.
Lanzini was given the call to start in midfield for the fifth time across all competitions this term, to earn what was only his 13th appearance to take his minutes for the season so far to 565, following claims the Hammers are open to offers for the 27-year-old.
Antonio was often starved of service against Stockport with Andriy Yarmolenko and Said Benrahma both struggling on the wings, yet an invisible showing from Lanzini in the centre of Moyes’ attacking line is what truly held West Ham back.
Lanzini started promisingly with a bright opening 10 minutes, combining well with Benrahma and dropping deep to see more of the ball, but swiftly fell into the shadows the more the game wore on.
Stockport built a fierce wall in front of Ben Hinchcliffe’s goal to protect their captain that Lanzini could never find a way to break through, ultimately leaving Moyes with no choice but to make changes midway through the second half with Tomas Soucek introduced for the Argentine.
It was a distant performance from Lanzini of the words echoed by former England striker Darren Bent last month, who backed the £70,000-per-week gem to rediscover his lost form.
“Moyes is getting something out of him,” Bent told Football Insider. “He does seem like he’s playing at his best or potentially somewhere near his best. He’s got wonderful feet, he’s got great technique, he’s certainly a top player.”
Lanzini could only offer a single key pass and shot against the Hammer’s National League opposition on Monday night during his time on the field, while failing to attempt a single dribble or cross, per SofaScore.
He retained the ball well with 43 accurate passes for a 90% success rate, yet lost possession six times and committed one foul without winning a single tackle, making an interception, recording a clearance or completing either of his two long passes.
Moyes further saw the five-time Argentina international lose his only attempted duel of the FA Cup affair, with Lanzini failing to contest any battles on the ground and being beaten in his sole aerial contest.