David Moyes must unleash Manuel Lanzini on Brighton & Hove Albion in order to help West Ham United seal their final home win of 2020.
The Seagulls visit the London Stadium on Sunday looking to pull clear of the drop zone after just one win in 12 games has seen the Amex Stadium natives dragged well and truly into the relegation picture, with just a point separating them from the bottom three.
West Ham are on course to see out the weekend comfortably in the middle of the pack but can close to within a point of ninth-placed Southampton with victory over Brighton, after the Saints were held to a goalless draw at Fulham on Boxing Day.
Moyes will be eager to see his West Ham side claim victory over the Seagulls in their final home fixture of the year, but will be fully aware of how toothless his side looked in the defeat to Chelsea on Monday night.
The Irons failed to register a single shot on goal at Stamford Bridge as they lost the London Derby 3-0, while midfielder Tomas Soucek struck his side’s most efforts towards Edouard Mendy’s net with two attempts beside his name, per SofaScore.
The 27-year-old had featured for the final 45 minutes in the Hammers’ prior 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace and stole the show with his efforts from the bench, while leaving former Premier League striker Darren Bent in complete awe.
“David 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 is yet to start a Premier League fixture this term while his minutes at home to Crystal Palace almost doubled his tally for the season thus far, having only featured for 61 minutes over five prior substitute outings.
Moyes must alter that record on Sunday should the Scottish coach and his medical team believe the £12.5m-rated gem has overcome his hamstring injury, as West Ham will not display the needed creativity with Mark Noble starting in the central attacking midfield role.