With David Moyes’ West Ham United side heading into Saturday’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace on the back of a highly impressive 4-1 away win at Watford last time out, the 58-year-old Hammers boss will undoubtedly be hoping for a repeat performance at Selhurst Park in the 17:30 kick-off this afternoon.
However, with the hosts looking a much-improved outfit under the management of Patrick Vieira, picking up 23 points over their 19 league fixtures so far this season, Moyes will be fully aware that his side will have to be at their absolute best if they are to get 2022 off to a winning start.
As such, the Scottish manager simply must get his team selection spot on against the Eagles, with Craig Dawson – following a disappointing performance last time out, despite West Ham’s win – appearing to be a prime candidate to drop out of the starting XI on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch against the Hornets, the 31-year-old centre-back often found himself bullied Emmanuel Dennis, with the £2.7m-rated man losing seven of his 11 duels in the match – a success rate of just 36% – as well as failing to make a single tackle.
The player who Roshane Thomas dubbed “shaky” also completed just 71% of his passes, lost possession of the ball on eight occasions, ceded three fouls and found his intended target with just two of his eight attempted long balls.
The Evening Standard’s Jack Rosser also appeared far from impressed with the display of Dawson last time out, awarding the former England U21 international a six in his own player ratings, as well as stating of the centre-back’s performance: “Too easily passed by Dennis for the Watford goal and a couple of hairy moments.”
As such, while the injuries to Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell have left Moyes rather short of choice in the heart of his West Ham defence, it would nevertheless appear wise for the 58-year-old to drop the 31-year-old from his starting lineup on Saturday afternoon, as a repeat of his performance against Watford at Selhurst Park could end up costing his side much more dearly than it did against the Hornets.