West Ham United could be set to unleash Maxwel Cornet in their Europa Conference League clash with FCSB this evening.
That’s according to Pete O’Rourke, with the journalist stating his belief in a recent interview with Football FanCast that, after impressing in both the Hammers’ qualifying round victory over Viborg FF last month and the 2-1 defeat against Chelsea last weekend, the 25-year-old could be handed an opportunity from the off against the club’s Romanian opponents tonight.
When asked whether he felt Cornet could be in line for a start against FCSB, O’Rourke said: “Yeah, he did well against Chelsea. He was very unlucky not to get the equalising goal with that controversial VAR decision.
“He’s played in a couple of the Europa League qualifiers against Viborg and did well in those as well. So I’d imagine Cornet will get the opportunity for another start here and get an opportunity to try and stake a claim for a starting place in David Moyes’ Premier League side going forward.”
As O’Rourke suggests, considering just how impressive Cornet was in the unfortunate 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last time out, coupled with how effective the winger was in his two outings against Viborg earlier this season, it would indeed appear a wise move for Moyes to finally unleash the Ivory Coast international from the off against FCSB this evening.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch in the 3-1 first leg victory over the Danish side, the £17.5m summer signing was in spectacular attacking form, completing three dribbles, making two key passes, creating one big chance, completing two crosses, taking two shots at goal and setting up Gianluca Scamacca for the opening goal of the game.
It was a similar story for the £17.5m-rated talent over his 90 minutes in the 3-0 second-leg victory, in which he made three key passes, completed two crosses, created one big chance and set up Said Benrahma for the Hammers’ second of the match.
And, despite being afforded just 12 minutes of game time in the loss to Chelsea last Saturday, the 25-year-old very nearly earned his side a share of the spoils against the Blues, keeping his composure to fire home past three defenders after Edouard Mendy spilled Reece James’ back-header – only for his strike to be ruled out as a result of an extremely controversial VAR decision.
Furthermore, with Pablo Fornals having struggled to make any real impact over his eight appearances in all competitions so far this season, scoring one goal – a heavily deflected winner against Aston Villa – providing no assists and creating no big chances, it would very much appear as if the player who Maximiliano Bretos dubbed “unbelievable” deserves a chance to start ahead of the Spain international this evening – as Cornet has already proven himself to be a something of a game-changer for the Irons.