West Ham continued their fine form with a late victory over Leeds United on Saturday afternoon but an uncharacteristic performance from Tomas Soucek will surely leave David Moyes concerned.
It’s no secret that the 43-cap Czech Republic has been one of the best signings in the Premier League in recent seasons.
He picked up the Irons’ ‘Player of the Year’ award for a phenomenal campaign in which he finished as the joint-top goalscorer in the top-flight, whilst he had many in and around the game regularly waxing lyrical about his ability.
Former Everton winger Yannick Bolasie described him as “unplayable” back in May and earlier in the year, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher dubbed him the best box-to-box midfielder in the league.
“When we’re talking about box to box midfielders, there’s nobody better in the Premier League right now than Soucek,” he said (via talkSPORT). “The goals stand out massively – that is huge for a midfield player and is a big reason why West Ham are where they are.”
However, the bustling 6 foot 4 presence of Soucek hasn’t been able to get into the same areas as last season and his personal performances are suffering because of it, with this weekend being a huge case in point.
The 26-year-old, who is valued at £36m by Transfermarkt, scored ten times in the Premier League last season, averaging a goal every 3.8 matches. He has found the net just once so far this term, meaning he’s averaging a goal every six games right now.
Soucek is one of six players to have played every minute of every league game this season, so perhaps fitness may be playing a factor in his ability to storm up the pitch and get into the box, especially considering he barely had a pre-season after competing at Euro 2020.
West Ham journalist Tom Clark at football.london was far from impressed by Soucek’s display too. ‘Giften the ball to Rodrigo in the build-up to Raphinha’s goal, a really sloppy and uncharacteristic piece of play from the usually reliable midfielder,’ he wrote before handing him a 4/10 rating – the lowest in the column.
Indeed, it was a rare off-night for the towering midfield beast. He’s not finding the net as much as he normally does and after Saturday, Moyes must find a way to get his key star back firing them in once again.