West Ham United return to Premier League action this weekend and they’ll be looking to continue their fine start to the 2021/22 campaign.
David Moyes’ side remain unbeaten after the opening three matches, having thrashed Newcastle United and Leicester City before picking up a point against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium last time out.
They now face Southampton at St Mary’s and the 58-year-old has plenty to mull over heading into kick-off, not least because they signed three more players before deadline day.
One of those was quite a considerable coup…
The Irons managed to seal a £29.8m move for Premier League and Champions League winner Kurt Zouma from Chelsea in the final week of the transfer window and he represents an instant upgrade to the defence.
Moyes should not wait to see him in action either, despite a lack of time with the squad on the training pitch. He’ll be fresh and ready to go after featuring for France in their recent World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and Finland this week, where he picked up his seventh and eighth caps.
Zouma, who was once described as a “beast of a player” by Premier League legend John Terry, must replace Craig Dawson in the starting XI, taking up a spot alongside Angelo Ogbonna in the heart of the Hammers’ backline.
It was perhaps a little confusing to see Thomas Tuchel willing to part ways with the 26-year-old centre-back, as he performed to a very high level whenever selected last season.
Indeed, the 6 foot 3 Frenchman was graded as Chelsea’s second-best player, as per WhoScored figures, whilst he topped the charts for aerial duels won (3.6) and clearances (3.8) per game in the top-flight, proving to be a solid no-nonsense defender. In addition to that, the £28.8m-rated colossus was one of their best with the ball at his feet, averaging a passing accuracy of 90.9% across the season.
By comparison, that ball-playing ability would’ve exceeded every single West Ham player last season and the rest of his numbers are a sheer upgrade on Dawson, who averaged one fewer aerial duel won as well as fewer tackles per game, via WhoScored.
On the above evidence, this selection change should be a very easy one to make, and considering that the Irons have leaked five goals in three games, therefore it should be one that Moyes does not hesitate over.
Zouma must be unleashed against the Saints. He could be a massive game-changer for the east London outfit.
AND in other news, ExWHUemployee drops major claim on £60k-p/w West Ham star, fans will be ecstatic…