West Ham United return to Premier League action as they welcome newcomers Brentford to the London Stadium this afternoon.
It’s the seventh match in three weeks for the Irons, who have started the 2021/22 campaign on fire, losing just once across all competitions thus far.
With another international break soon on this horizon, David Moyes will want to sign off in style with yet another victory, though after defeating Rapid Wien in the Europa League on Thursday night, the Scotsman is facing plenty of selection headaches.
Just two places split the two teams heading into kickoff, so the newly-promoted Bees aren’t a side that can be taken lightly.
Moyes has utilised squad rotation to some extent with these midweek matches, so players like Tomas Soucek and Kurt Zouma should come straight back into the starting XI, though one name that shouldn’t feature is fellow summer signing Nikola Vlasic, who has looked very underwhelming since joining the club.
He flattered to deceive on his debut for the Hammers – as explained by Football FanCast here – despite it being in the most perfect of circumstances after returning to his home country to face Dinamo Zagreb.
Against Wien, he managed to record fewer touches (25) than goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (28) and he also registered the fewest touches of any West Ham starter (nine) and that’s the last thing you want from your creative option in the no.10 role.
The 23-year-old midfielder may well come good for the Irons eventually but in games like this, Moyes is better off turning to his tried and tested, such as Pablo Fornals, instead.
Moyes has already been impressed by what he’s seen from Vlasic on the training pitch, revealing to reporters:
“He can play several roles for us which is important, but we also want to give him the chance to adapt and adjust. He’s only been really impressive since he’s been at the club and we’re really hopeful that he’ll turn into a really good player for us.”
But the former Everton flop has struggled for weeks now, so he must not keep his place in the starting XI for this encounter. Brentford pose plenty of threat themselves, having beaten Arsenal and drawn to Liverpool already this campaign.
Moyes may well like what he sees in Vlasic but at the London Stadium this afternoon, he must be brutal and leave the 5 foot 10 maestro on the bench. His faith in the summer signing is yet to be rewarded with any sort of promising performance, so he must now be axed from the starting XI.