In recent comments cited by the Evening Standard, David Moyes revealed that both Gianluca Scamacca and Michail Antonio look set to miss out on the trip to The Emirates tonight, as the Italian sustained an ankle injury during a mid-season friendly during the World Cup break, while the Jamaican has been suffering from a strain to his calf.
Regarding the current condition of the centre-forwards, the 59-year-old manager said:
“Gianluca has got an ankle injury and Mick had a calf strain. We’re hoping they both have a chance, but they are doubtful. I think every club is going to have issues with players returning after the World Cup.
“Jarrod [Bowen] is more than capable of playing down the middle. We’ve done the same with Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio, so who says we can’t do it with Jarrod?”
While it is true that Jarrod Bowen is more than capable of playing through the middle if required, considering the relatively poor form the England international has been in this season, coupled with the Hammers having struggled for goals even when all of their attacking options have been fit, the potential loss of both Scamacca and Antonio is undoubtedly awful news for Moyes.
Indeed, the £35.5m summer signing from US Sassuolo is currently the Irons’ top goalscorer in all competitions, having bagged six goals over 21 fixtures in the Premier League, Europa Conference League qualifiers, Europa Conference League proper and the Carabao Cup, while Antonio is the club’s joint second top scorer, having bagged five in 20 in the same competitions.
Furthermore, while it is undeniable that Bowen was in sensational form over his 36 Premier League appearances last season – scoring 12 goals, registering ten assists and creating nine big chances – the 26-year-old has so far failed to hit anywhere near this level of form in 2022/23 – scoring just two goals, providing no assists and creating one big chance over his 15 top-flight fixtures.
As such, with a daunting fixture against the table-topping Gunners coming up for West Ham this evening, it is evident that being without the services of the Hammers’ only two out-and-out centre-forwards will come as a huge blow to Moyes’ chances of leaving north London with all three points – with a positive result very much needed in order to ease the mounting pressure on the Scot.