West Ham United secured all three points in their opening Europa Conference League fixture of the 2022/23 campaign on Thursday night, but it was far from a procession over their Romanian opposition at the London Stadium.
Indeed, the visitors took a shock lead when Andrei Cordea turned home Darius Olaru’s low back-post cross in the 34th minute, while West Ham struggled to create any clear-cut chances of their own during the first half – taking 11 shots at goal and failing to hit the target once, while FCSB created two big chances in comparison to the home side’s zero.
However, after David Moyes made three changes at the interval – with Michail Antonio replacing Gianluca Scamacca, Lucas Paqueta coming on for Manuel Lanzini and Siad Benrahma being replaced by Jarrod Bowen – the Hammers finally started to look threatening, with Jarrod Bowen expertly dispatching a penalty, Emerson finishing coolly and Antonio completing the turnaround with a fantastic driving run and finish late on.
Despite the victory, though, Moyes will be far from happy with the way his side started the game, with Lanzini, Scamacca and Benrahma all failing to make any real impact going forwards for the Irons. The latter of this trio turned in a particularly worrying display against a side who currently sit 13th in the Romanian top flight.
Indeed, over the course of his 45 minutes on the pitch, the £25m signing offered his side extremely little in an attacking capacity, failing with all four of his attempted dribbles, his one attempted cross, touching the ball just 30 times (the second lowest of any West Ham starter), seeing all three of his shots blocked and ceding possession on 11 separate occasions – meaning he lost the ball with every 2.7 touches that he had throughout his time on the pitch.
These returns saw the £20k-per-week winger not only earn an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.0 – the lowest of any player from either side on the night – but also saw football.london’s Kadeem Simmonds award the attacker a five in his own player ratings, with the journalist stating of the 27-year-old’s display: “Failed to get West Ham going in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. Another player only used in the opening 45 minutes with his team 1-0 down.”
As such, with the Algeria international having been dropped to the bench in two of West Ham’s last three Premier League fixtures, his performance against FCSB will have done extremely little to convince Moyes that he should be in the starting XI to face Newcastle United on Sunday – as Benrahma well and truly failed the manager’s test on Thursday night.