West Ham United know that four points from their final two matches of the 2020/21 Premier League season will secure them a place in Europe, and there won’t be a better time to pick up three of them than this evening.
The Irons head north to face former manager Sam Allardyce and his already-relegated West Brom side at the Hawthorns.
David Moyes will certainly need to see an improvement, with his side faltering in recent weeks having won just one of their last five matches in the top-flight.
In that run, the Hammers have struggled to find the goalscoring touch that saw them mount a serious challenge at the top-four, so some changes in attack would not come as a surprise.
One name that should be facing an axe from Moyes’ starting XI is Jarrod Bowen, who hugely disappointed in the draw over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Not only did he struggle to make much of an impact, recording only ten passes in 64 minutes on the pitch but he also failed to provide an accurate cross for Michail Antonio, couldn’t manage a successful dribble and did not register a single shot, as per SofaScore.
The 24-year-old dynamo usually averages just shy of one dribble each outing, as well as 1.5 shots per game, so evidently, he was way below his best on the south coast on Saturday night.
His replacement, Said Benrahma, came on and bagged the vital equaliser, only further proving why a switch on the wing could be an easy decision to make right now.
Bowen, who is currently valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, has now gone four straight league games without a goal contribution, which will come as a major concern considering he scored three and assisted two in the four games prior to this barren spell.
He should be doing a lot better, especially as he’s amongst Moyes’ highest-earners on a reported £60k-per-week.
Earlier in the campaign, Bowen drew glowing praise from many across football – Gabby Agbonlahor described him as “quality” and “outstanding” to Football Insider, whilst Gary Neville told Sky Sports (21st December, 19:56) that he is “brilliant to watch.”
However, there have been lingering concerns about one aspect of his game, as Kevin Phillips suggested to Football Insider.
“In possession, he’s great. But ultimately out of possession, you’ve got to know your positions, you’ve got to know when to press, you’ve got to know where to show someone and where not to show them,” he said. “If you don’t get it quite right at this level, you get punished. It’s no surprise because he’s more of an offensive player, defending’s not his main duty. But we all know that nowadays you’ve got to be able to do both.”
Bowen has underperformed in recent matches and failed to make a point during his 64 minutes against Brighton.
Moyes must show no mercy and ruthlessly axe him from his starting XI tonight.