West Ham United saw their recent four-game winning run in all competitions come to an end on Sunday afternoon, with David Moyes’ side held to a frustrating draw away to relegation-threatened Southampton at St Mary’s.
The Hammers had fallen behind early on following Romain Perraud’s deflected strike, before skipper Declan Rice ended his lengthy Premier League goal drought to fire home superbly just after the hour mark, with the two sides left to settle for a point following what was an entertaining encounter on the south coast.
The overriding feeling may well be one of disappointment for the away side having enjoyed 61% possession on the day and recorded 25 shots to their opponents’ ten, with it something of a missed opportunity against a side who currently find themselves in the drop zone.
The Irons had not been helped heading into the game, however, as a result of a succession of absences in the defensive ranks, with the likes of Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Craig Dawson all missing out, forcing Moyes to deploy something of a makeshift backline in a back five formation.
That injury crisis resulted in the return of full-back Vladimir Coufal to the starting XI having sat out the last two top-flight games, although the Czech Republic international failed to take that chance after producing a below-par display on the day.
The £10.8m-rated dud was unable to provide the required attacking impetus from his wing-back berth, notably completing just two of his eight crosses against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, with football.london’s Jonty Colman noting: “his crosses were just short of what was needed and by some way too”.
The 30-year-old also proved something of a liability in possession as he squandered the ball on 21 occasions during his 90-minute outing, subsequently recording a rather dismal 73% pass accuracy rate as a result.
The former Slavia Prague man had lost his place to summer signing Thilo Kehrer in recent weeks in the league and it was easy to see why following another lukewarm performance, with the Evening Standard’s Malik Ouzia echoing that view by stating that it was “another display which showed why the Czech has lost his shirt recently.”
Such a showing will likely have done the 32-cap machine few favours when Moyes does have greater defensive options to choose from once again, having only just been criticised for his lack of ‘end product’, by the aforementioned Colman, following Thursday’s win over Anderlecht.
An undoubtedly hard-working asset – as illustrated by the fact that the full-back won 100% of his aerial duels this afternoon – it would appear that Coufal is simply lacking that much-needed quality in an attacking sense.