In recent comments cited by the Evening Standard, David Moyes revealed that, despite the centre-back having recently returned to first-team training after undergoing knee surgery in November, the 28-year-old will not be fit enough to feature at the Gtech Community Stadium for Saturday’s cup clash.
Regarding the current condition of the Frenchman, Moyes said: “Kurt Zouma is getting closer, but maybe not yet. He’s only just going to start training, so we’re probably much the same [from Leeds United].
“We’re trying to recover. We only played late on Wednesday night so we’re still trying to get the players back together and get them ready.”
Considering just how important a part of Moyes’ backline Zouma has become since his £29.8m move to the London Stadium in the summer of 2021, coupled with how poor West Ham have been at the back without the 28-year-old – shipping seven goals in their last three games – the continued unavailability of Zouma for the trip to Brentford is certainly terrible news for the Scot.
Indeed, over his 24 Premier League appearances last season, the £28m-rated talent was in imperious form at the back, helping the Irons to keep five clean sheets, in addition to making 1.4 interceptions, 0.5 tackles and 5.5 clearances and winning 2.8 duels – at a success rate of 58% – per game.
These returns saw the 11-cap international average an impressive Sofascore match rating of 6.98, not only ranking him as Moyes’ best-performing centre-back but also as the Hammers’ sixth-best player overall in the league last time out.
It has been a similar story over Zouma’s 14 top-flight outings in the current campaign, with the £125k-per-week stopper helping his side to keep three clean sheets, along with making 0.9 interceptions, 0.3 tackles and 4.8 clearances and winning 2.7 duels – at a success rate of 72% – per match.
As such, it is clear to see that Zouma is very much one of the most talented central defenders in Moyes’ squad at present, with the continued absence of the 28-year-old undoubtedly coming as a huge blow to West Ham’s chances of making it through to the next round of the FA Cup this evening – especially against a team who put two goals past the Irons without reply just eight days ago.