West Ham fans endured and then enjoyed a frenetic opening match in the Premier League last weekend as their side beat Newcastle United 4-2.
Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy’s goals either side of an equaliser from Aaron Cresswell saw the Magpies go into half-time with a 2-1 lead, with the Hammers fans potentially left wondering what else could go wrong in the second-half.
However, a stunning second 45 minutes from David Moyes’ team secured the three points for the Irons. Said Benrhama, Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio scored the goals, giving the Hammers a perfect start to the season with three points on the board.
Despite the 4-2 win over the opening day, there is one change Moyes should make to his side for the clash with Leicester in the Premier League on Monday night.
Alphonse Areola joined on loan from PSG this summer to battle it out with Lukasz Fabianksi for the number one jersey. Given that Moyes will surely want his first-choice goalkeeper locked in as early as possible, to prove a solid base at the back, Areola should be unleashed against Leicester to see what he can do.
Fabianski was left rooted to his line for the first Newcastle goal as he failed to react to a cross that arrived inside the six-yard box from Allan Saint-Maximin. This allowed Wilson to head into the net with relative ease, instead of being challenged by the Poland international – who could have made an attempt to reach the cross.
He also only made one save and was given the lowest SofaScore rating (6.2) in the team. This suggests that he was not at his best and as such, Areola should now be given the opportunity to stake his claim for the shirt.
Thomas Tuchel once hailed Areola as ‘exceptional’ whilst he was the manager of PSG, speaking about the competition between the current Hammer and Italian legend Gigi Buffon at the time. He told PSG’s official website:
“Honestly, I have to admit that I have a bit of a bad conscience. The situation is not easy for both. They are exceptional. Normally, changing every other match is not the best way to get the best performance from a goalkeeper. They are amazing. We decide each week who will play.”
The £147k-per-week beast saved 7.6 expected goals for Fulham in the Premier League last season during an impressive spell at Craven Cottage. Fabianski, meanwhile, saved 4.8 expected goals for the Hammers. This suggests that the Frenchman has the quality required to be an upgrade in terms of shot-stopping, which is another reason why Moyes must unleash him against Leicester.
If Moyes alternates his goalkeepers in the opening weeks of the season, it could allow him to get the perfect view of both to analyse who is the best option to go with for the majority of the campaign. The sooner he works that out, the better.