David Moyes must address Jarrod Bowen’s concerning rate of regression with the West Ham United forward on a persistent decline this season.
Bowen has proven to be a crucial cog in the Irons system all term, with the former Hull City winger featuring in all 26 Premier League fixtures and starting 23 of his outings to date.
Only Tomas Soucek (8) and Michail Antonio (7) have also scored more often in the top-flight for the Irons than Bowen (5), who is without a goal in his last seven appearances and is bordering on his longest drought all campaign – eight games.
And, off the ball, Bowen is beginning to flounder and he was benched for Pablo Fornals to take his place on the right-flank against Manchester City on Saturday. The energetic Spaniard shone at the Etihad Stadium to emerge as the Hammer’s silver lining in the 2-1 defeat.
Bowen’s defensive decline also concerns Kevin Phillips, with Wyscout data (as cited by Football Insider) showing that only three players across Europe’s top-five leagues allow the opposition to make a higher number of progressive passes than the £25m-rated maestro.
In a side that Moyes prides on its defensive discipline, Phillips does not believe there is room for Bowen to be carried by the likes of right-back Vladimir Coufal and midfield star Declan Rice.
“Stats don’t lie,” the 1999/2000 European Golden Boot winner told Football Insider. “In possession, he’s great. But ultimately, out of possession, you’ve got to know your positions, you’ve got to know when to press, you’ve got to know where to show someone and where not to show them.
“If you don’t get it quite right at this level, you get punished. It’s no surprise because he’s more of an offensive player, defending is not his main duty. But we all know that nowadays you’ve got to be able to do both.
“So that will be an area they’ll want to improve. These coaches know that. They’ll look at the stats. It’s certainly an area that he needs to learn, the young kid. That will get better as time goes on, particularly under Moyes, who is a fantastic coach.”
It is not only in the volume of progressive passes that he allows that shows that Bowen has been struggling defensively, with the 24-year-old performing at a worse standard this term than during his first half-season at the London Stadium in an array of areas.
The £22m January 2020 signing is currently offering Moyes fewer successful (0.7) and attempted (1.2) tackles per game in the Premier League than he did following his winter arrival last season (1.5/2.5), as well as fewer interceptions (0.6 to 1.2), per WhoScored.
Bowen has further made just two successful tackles in his last six top-flight appearances – both coming against Tottenham Hotspur – and offered two interceptions in that period – each coming at home to Liverpool.
The £96,000-per-week star has been lacking offensively, too, with just three key passes, two shots and two successful dribbles during his last six league outings combined.
Those displays have also resulted in an average WhoScored match rating of 6.34 – including two 6 out of 10s – to bring his seasonal average down to 6.72, the 11th-best at the London Stadium and behind £45m flop Sebastien Haller (6.75) who was sold for £20m in January.
Moyes will need to address Bowen’s concerning rate of regression, both on and off the ball, if the forward is to re-establish his place in the West Ham starting line-up.