Manuel Lanzini proved a rare negative of West Ham United’s 2-1 win at home to West Bromwich Albion having held David Moyes’ side back on Tuesday night.
Moyes opted to give Lanzini the nod to open the action behind striker Michail Antonio at the London Stadium over Pablo Fornals, with the Spaniard falling to the bench allowing the Argentine to make only his second Premier League start of the season.
But the decision proved ill-conceived with Lanzini struggling to bring the energy or the vision needed in the central midfield role, and saw his number shown after only an hour as the first of Moyes’ permitted substitutions in a double change alongside Said Benrahma.
Lanzini frequently appeared anonymous throughout the first half, despite West Ham controlling much of the proceedings, with full-backs Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal causing much of the Hammers’ attacking momentum.
Lanzini’s struggles to establish himself in the early stages further saw Moyes strive to find alternative answers as the interval neared, with Benrahma moving centrally and the 27-year-old shifted onto the left-wing.
The changes failed to prevent the Irons from soon starting to lose control of the game after West Brom came out from the break looking a side reborn following Sam Allardyce’s team talk, and quickly equalised through a glorious Matheus Pereira strike from the edge of the box.
The Baggies continued to look the side in the ascendancy until Moyes called for changes, and reaped the rewards of his actions when Antonio flicked home substitute Andriy Yarmolenko’s delivery for what would prove to be the winning goal just four minutes later.
Lanzini’s invisible presence had played a key role in West Brom initially finding their route back into the match, on a night where things could have ended vastly different for the £12.5m-rated maestro had he shown a slim margin more quality.
Manuel Pellegrini lauded Lanzini during his tenure in east London as a player he could place a great deal of trust in, as the midfielder played without fear and “always wants the ball”.
Lanzini never shied from taking possession during his time on the field against West Brom on Tuesday night, having left the pitch with 50 touches to his name – more than any visiting player and the most of Moyes’ front four, per WhoScored. But the £70,000-per-week dud heavily struggled to use his time on the ball to good effect.
Cresswell did well to work a cut back for Lanzini just before the half-hour mark only for the Argentine to produce a tame effort, who again did poorly when he swiftly blazed another effort over the bar. Lanzini should have later got a goal, too, only for his 57th-minute strike from eight yards out to be brilliantly blocked by Dara O’Shea on the line.
Those efforts ensured Lanzini departed the action with one big chance missed to his name from one shot on target, one blocked and one directed wide, while producing just one successful dribble – albeit above his appalling season average of 0.2, per SofaScore.
He further opted against attempting any crosses into Sam Johnstone’s box, was caught offside once and committed two fouls to the one for a foul given on him, and gifted West Brom possession 11 times while losing four of his six combined duels.
Lanzini’s efforts ensured he raised his average minutes per game to 26 but performed well below his usual standards in the duel with a seasonal score of 43% won in the league, to make it an easy decision for Moyes when considering his first substitutes of the match as the midfielder had held West Ham back.
AND in other news, West Ham can secure David Moyes’ dream Mark Noble heir in a £25m January target…