David Moyes must show no mercy and drop Pablo Fornals from the West Ham United starting line-up after the Spaniard provided a torturous display against Crystal Palace.
Fornals maintained his 100 per cent record for opening Premier League fixtures this season when the Hammers draw 1-1 with the Eagles on Wednesday night, but was hauled off at the break after struggling to provide any quality.
The 24-year-old strolled freely around the pitch, much to his side’s expense, with Palace able to capitalise on Fornals’ lack of positional awareness to score while leaving Aaron Cresswell woefully exposed at left-back in various two-vs-one situations.
Eberechi Eze had a field day on the right-side of Roy Hodgson’s midfield in the early stages with Fornals struggling to establish himself, consistently receiving the ball and looking like a real threat able to deliver dangerous crosses into the West Ham box.
Palace would have hoped to see Fornals remain on the pitch at the interval, feeling the £67,308-per-week Spaniard was a weak link they could look to further exploit, only to be left disappointed with Moyes calling time on his night at the mid-way mark.
Moyes has been reluctant to deviate from his tried and tested starting line-up for much of the season so far, believing Fornals and Jarrod Bowen, in particular, had been performing at an undroppable level.
“The boys in the team are playing really well, it’s not easy to say sorry, we’re bringing someone else in,” the former Manchester United boss said, via quotes by the Evening Standard last month.
“If you come to the club it’s a great thing, it’s great competition behind the player and gives the players in the team more reason to perform well.”
Moyes must now realise that the time is up for Fornals in the starting line-up after his torturous display against Crystal Palace, which should ensure he sees kick-off against Chelsea on Monday night from the dugout and not the field.
Fornals only attempted two ground duels, winning one, during the first half on Wednesday night, per SofaScore, while offering just a single shot that was off target and one key ball from 14 accurate passes.
He never attempted to deliver a cross into the Eagles’ box for Sebastien Haller, who pulled West Ham level with a spectacular bicycle kick, or attempt to beat a Palace player with a dribble, as Fornals consistently sought to keep play simple with only one long pass recorded.
Defensively, Fornals was invisible in most, with just three interceptions to show for his overall efforts, which saw the £24million Manuel Pellegrini signing register one touch in the visitor’s penalty area and one additional touch in the final third, per WhoScored.
Moyes may not like to change a side who avoided defeat, but Fornals will not be the answer to claiming a win at Stamford Bridge on Monday either.