David Moyes can solve his Sebastien Haller dilemma after Gabby Agbonlahor stated the West Ham striker will be “frustrated” to not have successfully replaced the injured Michail Antonio.
Speaking with Football Insider, Aston Villa hero Agbonlahor has claimed Haller will be growing increasingly irritated to have not staked his claim for a starting role at the London Stadium whilst Moyes has been without star striker Antonio.
The £10.8m-rated dynamo has missed his side’s last two Premier League fixtures as a result of the hamstring injury sustained at home to Manchester City last month, which was expected to sideline Antonio for six weeks, yet he remains the Irons’ joint-top scorer with three goals.
Haller failed to strike a single effort against either Liverpool or Fulham when handed his first starts of the top-flight campaign, leaving the club-record £45m signing with just one goal in his last 13 Premier League outings.
Agbonlahor feels the Cottagers’ defensive-minded tactics played a great role in Haller’s plight continuing last time out, noting: “It’s not as if Fulham played a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, Fulham played a very defensive formation. It would have been tough for even Antonio to break them down.
“West Ham get their most joy when they play against teams on the counter-attack. The game against Fulham was tough to create chances. So, it’s not something that I’d worry about.
“I think with Haller, if you get the right balls into the box for him then he will score goals, but West Ham didn’t manage to do that. I’m sure he’ll be frustrated because he wants to be scoring goals.”
Agbonlahor’s comments come in line with Moyes’ remarks following the Fulham clash, having told the West Ham website: “Our crossing quality was really poor and we didn’t deliver good enough quality into the box when we were in positions to do so. We were hoping to get something aerial for Haller to score from.”
Moyes now has the chance to afford Haller another shot at proving his worth in claret and blue when league action resumes against Sheffield United later this month, with ExWHUemployee – while speaking on the West Ham Way podcast – claiming the Scottish coach has already decided he will not risk Antonio aggravating his injury by starting him at Bramall Lane.
Instead, Antonio is due to be listed among the substitutes with Moyes keen to see if Haller can fare any better against a side who has allowed the second-most shots (15) and fourth-most crosses (21) a game in the top-flight thus far this term, per WhoScored.
Haller could only win six of his 10 aerial duels against Fulham last time out while striking just one of three shots on target, which Moyes will no doubt hope he can improve after netting on his Ivory Coast debut.