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West Ham: Vladimir Coufal struggles in Arsenal defeat

West Ham United were subject to their third consecutive defeat in a week as the Hammers lost 2-1 at home to Arsenal in the Premier League.

Goals from defenders Rob Holding and Gabriel either side of Jarrod Bowen’s strike secured a third straight victory for the Gunners which also saw them climb back into the top four.

David Moyes’ men are still seventh, although eighth place Wolves do have a game in hand whilst being three points behind, meaning that there is still a long way to go for the Irons if they are to qualify for Europe via the league.

With Thursday’s enormous Europa League semi-final second leg in Frankfurt the priority, the Scotsman opted to make a handful of changes, with right-back Vladimir Coufal coming into the fold. However, the Czech Republic international struggled at the London Stadium.

The 29-year-old let himself down after recording an impressive 81 touches, losing possession a whopping 21 times at an average rate of once every 3.9 touches.

Coufal also lost 73% of his duels whilst being dribbled past three times and making one error that led to a shot in a frustratingly below-par defensive performance from the right-back.

However, a positive that the Czech can take from his display is providing the assist for Bowen’s goal, with it just his third in the league this term.

Should Coufal start Thursday's Europa League match?

Yes

Yes

No

No

After a stellar first season in claret and blue, this campaign has been a bit more complicated for the right-back, particularly with the breakthrough of 22-year-old Ben Johnson.

A hernia issue has been thought to be the major contributing factor to this downturn in form, with Coufal eventually receiving surgery in February which saw the 29-year-old out of action for a month.

However, Moyes has opted to keep the Czech out of the starting lineup for all but one of the east London outfit’s Europa League knockout matches, with the defender playing the full 90 minutes of West Ham’s 3-0 win in Lyon.

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It’s unlikely that Coufal will start against Frankfurt in the week, particularly given that the Hammers must overturn a 2-1 deficit if they are to progress to the final.

However, with three league matches left to play, those will be the opportunities in which the defender must shine to work his way back up the pecking order.

AND in other news: West Ham handed big boost in pursuit of £49k-p/w target, Moyes surely buzzing

Article title: West Ham: Vladimir Coufal struggles in Arsenal defeat

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