West Ham United finally returned to Premier League action on Monday evening, however, it was largely the same old story for David Moyes and his men at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal running out comfortable 3-1 victors.
Indeed, despite taking the lead through Said Benrahma’s 27th-minute penalty, in truth, it never felt as if the Hammers would be able to hold on to all three points, something that a trio of second-half strikes from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Edward Nketiah made sure of – with Mikel Arteta’s outfit making light work of the Irons’ backline after the break.
However, while it is true that none of the Hammers’ starting XI overly covered themselves in glory on Monday – with Vladimir Coufal, Thilo Kehrer and Tomas Soucek all particularly disappointing – it was undoubtedly the display of £51m summer signing Lucas Paqueta that was the most worrying at The Emirates yesterday night.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch, the £62m-rated talent was anonymous in the middle of the park, losing 12 of his 19 duels – a failure rate of 63% – being dribbled past by an opponent twice and taking just one shot at goal – which failed to hit the target – in the whole match.
The £150k-per-week playmaker did return slightly more impressive numbers in possession of the ball, completing 40 of his 49 attempted passes – a success rate of 82% – and making two key passes, however, this was just about all the Brazil international offered the Hammers throughout the duration of the match.
Indeed, the 25-year-old’s Sofascore match rating of 6.10 – the worst of any player to feature in the match – reflects just how disappointing Paqueta was against the Gunners, while the Evening Standard journalist Malik Ouzia also awarded the midfielder a four in his own player ratings, as well as stating:
“Back in an advanced role having excelled deeper for Brazil in Qatar but struggled to make any real impact as he was outshone by Martin Odegaard.”
Indeed, after an impressive World Cup campaign with Brazil, Moyes would have undoubtedly been hoping for Paqueta to continue his fine international form into the Premier League, however, after a shocking performance on Monday, there is much improvement needed should the playmaker get anywhere near the level he displays for A Selecao.