With three matches in the space of a week, West Ham boss David Moyes has some tricky decisions to make as he targets top spot in Group H.
The Irons have already advanced into the knockout stages of the Europa League but can seal first place with a win over Austrian outfit Rapid Wien this evening, so it leaves him with a dilemma in terms of team selection.
There’s the small test of defending Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday before finally returning to the London Stadium to host Brighton and Hove Albion next Wednesday.
Moyes will also be looking for a reaction after a run of seven games without defeat was put to an abrupt end last weekend, with the Hammers being defeated by Wolverhampton Wanderers in an utterly drab affair.
West Ham talisman Michail Antonio’s struggles in front of goal continued but he also looked rather fatigued, having travelled back from Jamaica in midweek.
It’s now one goal from nine matches across all competitions from the 31-year-old, a disappointing return considering he began the season on fire with six goals and four assists in just seven appearances, as per Transfermarkt.
Indeed, the £10.8m-rated Irons frontman “looked knackered” at full-time, according to The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas, and that’s hardly a surprise given the sheer volume of minutes he’s played this campaign (1,368), compared to this time last season (530).
Antonio, who is on around £70k-per-week, is hugely important to the Hammers’ success and will need to be fully fit and firing if they are to stand a chance of a result against Pep Guardiola’s side, especially after they defeated Paris Saint-Germain this week.
Dubbed a “complete monster” and an “absolute revelation” by Daily Star journalist Paul Brown to GIVEMESPORT, Antonio is clearly a vital part of Moyes’ set-up in east London right now but his poor injury track record is worrying, so he ought to be rested for this trip.
It would be a ruthless call to make with the top spot on the line but a necessary one for the greater good of their season. Moyes must axe Antonio from his starting XI over in Austria tonight.