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Nikola Vlasic struggles as West Ham win in Zagreb

David Moyes will surely be concerned by the performance of Nikola Vlasic as his West Ham side kickstarted their Europa League campaign with a win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night.

Back in his home country, the Croatian playmaker was handed his first start for the Irons, where he would have been expected to make a comfortable transition into the starting XI.

However, before he was hooked in the 69th minute, he was perhaps one of the few underwhelming Hammers players in the game.

After joining in a €30m (£26m) deal from CSKA Moscow in the summer, the one-time Everton flop looked lacklustre in attacking midfield.

SofaScore graded the 23-year-old as Moyes’ worst-rated player (6.3) and in fact, he was by quite some margin with the next worst being Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks (6.8).

Most damningly, the £27m-rated maestro recorded fewer passes during his time on the pitch than the Polish veteran in goal, and that’s just not what you expect from not only a big-money signing but also someone brought in to provide some creativity.

Vlasic also managed only 28 touches, just one more than substitute Said Benrahma, despite the Algerian winger playing 31 fewer minutes.

The new arrival completed just 69% of his 16 passing attempts, which was the lowest of any West Ham starter, via SofaScore, only compounding why the Hammers boss may well be worried heading into a congested fixture list.

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In the absence of last season’s loan star Jesse Lingard, who ended the campaign with nine goals and five assists to help fire them into this very competition, it is Vlasic who will have to step up to fill his void.

Based on that display alone, there was little to suggest that he’s the right man for the job – but, of course, it is still early days.

Vlasic’s performance should leave Moyes with plenty to ponder heading into the weekend and next week, where the east Londoners face Manchester United in a double-header across the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

AND in other news, Forget Antonio: £18m-rated West Ham “monster” was the real star of the show vs Zagreb

Article title: Nikola Vlasic struggles as West Ham win in Zagreb

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