Following West Ham United‘s 3-1 win over FCSB in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night, David Moyes has been left with a big decision to make regarding his midfield.
Tomas Soucek was rested for the clash against the Romanian side, with Flynn Downes coming in for his first start for the Irons since joining the club from Swansea City during the summer.
Carlton Palmer was impressed by the deal, as he said: “It’s brilliant business by David Moyes again, £12m for a player that’s got a very, very bright future ahead of him.”
The 23-year-old certainly impressed alongside Declan Rice in midfield last night, with SofaScore awarding him a 7.3/10 rating for his performance, the second-best of any West Ham player to start the match.
Meanwhile, Soucek has come under questioning from some quarters at the start of this season after a few underwhelming performances which have seemingly played a big part in the Hammers’ disappointing record in the Premier League so far this term.
A few weeks ago, following reports of an apparent falling-out with the player, Moyes tellingly said: “We are bringing in new players and you can probably see, if you are being honest, maybe some of the players who have been here are maybe not quite the same as they were even a year ago, a year and a half ago.
“So we’ve got to look at that as well and decide when the changeover time is. We’ve got a little bit of that going on, but we’ve got to try and keep it going and keep hanging in while we’re maybe not quite ready.”
After a superb 2020/21 season which saw him contribute 10 goals and average an impressive 7.36 rating from WhoScored, Soucek’s form dropped significantly last term, with just five goals and a 6.97 rating to his name, so Moyes well have been referring to the Czech Republic international in this statement.
In those outings, he has averaged 30.5 passes, a 79.2% pass accuracy and 0.2 key passes per game. By comparison, Downes contributed 57 passes last night with a 92% accuracy, including three key passes, which suggests that he certainly made a big statement.
While this weekend’s games have been called off, the 23-year-old seems to have done enough to warrant a start in West Ham’s next fixture after his impressive display against FCSB, and the added competition will hopefully kick Soucek back into gear after a poor start to the season for him.