David Moyes is wrong to overlook West Ham United forward Said Benrahma for Saturday’s Premier League clash with London rivals Fulham after hinting at the Algerian being shackled to the bench once more.
Benrahma joined the Hammers on a season-long loan costing £5million this summer, but has so far featured for just one minute of regular time having entered the action as a late substitute against Liverpool last weekend.
Moyes felt heading into the Irons’ trip to Anfield that Benrahma needed additional time to gain match fitness having been deemed out of shape seven days prior, when the Scottish coach opted to omit the 25-year-old from his 18-man matchday squad that drew with Manchester City.
Hopes of seeing Benrahma make his first start in claret and blue against Fulham on Saturday have been dealt a major blow, though, with Moyes stating at his pre-game press conference that the Brentford loanee who West Ham will sign permanently for £20m next year is still not yet 100 per cent match fit.
“We have got a squad of players now, good competition and Said is part of that,” Moyes noted, via quotes by football.london. “He got an introduction the other day, he is getting closer to match fitness, so we are pleased with how he’s getting on.
“We will see exactly what stage he is at but yes, he will be in and around the squad again.”
Benrahma struggled to make an impact upon being thrust into the action moments after Diogo Jota fired Liverpool into the lead last weekend, with the five-time Algeria international only managing four touches.
Yet Moyes is wrong to seemingly overlook starting the attacker who played a role in 27 goals last season (17 scored, 10 assisted), as Benrahma has already shown this term the damage he can do against Fulham.
Before departing Brentford for the London Stadium, Benrahma played an instrumental role in helping the Bees to beat Fulham 3-0 in the Carabao Cup, as he offered a Man of the Match display featuring two goals, a key ball and nine successful dribbles from 10 attempts, per SofaScore.
He further won 12 of his total 13 ground duels with a 92% success rate, was fouled once, offered two tackles, one interception and one accurate long ball, while attempting two crosses.
Benrahma was less successful in beating Fulham in the Championship Play-Off Final in August, as the Cottagers won 2-1, but the Algerian was still able to offer three shots, four successful dribbles, took 70 touches and won 10 of his 18 ground duels.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank once hailed Benrahma for giving everything to the cause, too, having sparked top-flight interest just months into his time in Greater London upon arriving from OGC Nice.
“He wants to give everything to improve his performance,” said Frank, via quotes by Le Buteur.
Moyes will be hoping to see Benrahma offer that same level of attacking threat now that he is in the Premier League, and where better to start than by starting against a side he has experience of terrorising.