West Ham have it all to do if they are to reach a historic Europa League final after David Moyes’ men suffered a crushing defeat in the first leg of their semi-final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Irons got off to the worst possible start when Ansgar Knauff headed home the opener to put the Bundesliga visitors in the lead after just 48 seconds.
Michail Antonio hit back right before half-time but Die Adler cut open the Hammers’ backline to take the lead through Daichi Kamada, leaving the east Londoners needing to win in Germany next week.
It was Pablo Fornals who was caught napping for Frankfurt’s early goal and that set the tone for the rest of his display as he struggled to make any sort of mark at the London Stadium on Thursday night.
The Spaniard, usually a sphere of creativity in the final third for Moyes, did a lot of running but his end product flattered to deceive, meaning Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and the rest of the attack were feeding off scraps.
As per SofaScore, the £xxm-rated dynamo lost possession a whopping 20 times (second-most in the game) from 64 touches – once every 4.5 minutes and once every 3.2 touches.
Elsewhere, Fornals was weak in his battles, as if Knauff’s effort wasn’t enough to go by. He won only one duel, failed to make a single tackle and was dribbled past on one occasion, handing Aaron Cresswell a lot of work down that left flank, as a result.
‘Didn’t manage to grab hold of the proceedings much,’ said football.london of the 26-year-old midfielder in their post-game column, whilst the Evening Standard also graded him poorly as Dan Kilpatrick wrote: ‘Missing a spark and couldn’t unlock the visitors.’
Meanwhile, Duncan Wright – once of The Sun – claimed that Fornals “has had a shocker” as he “hardly found a pass all game” – only emphasising just how disappointing he was on the night.
It was Lanzini who turned out to be Moyes’ only withdrawn player throughout the 90 minutes but perhaps the Scotsman should’ve looked to hook the Spain international instead, given how poorly he performed.
Indeed, Fornals had a shocker against Frankfurt and he badly let his boss down, too.