West Ham United return to Premier League action this afternoon and they’ll be looking to keep up their 100% record with a win over Crystal Palace at the London Stadium.
David Moyes’ side currently sit top of the standings after the opening two matches, having defeated Newcastle United and Leicester City by scoring four goals apiece in both games.
They now face a team that is winless under new manager Patrick Vieira, so it will be interesting to see if the 58-year-old Scot sticks with his starting XI for a third successive time.
The Irons know they have a Europa League campaign on the horizon, so rotation could be crucial in the coming weeks. There’s also the small matter of the transfer window still going on, with deadline day fast approaching on Tuesday night.
It’s thought that the east Londoners are on the verge of signing Kurt Zouma from Chelsea, whilst according to ExWHUemployee, the club have fielded offers for fellow centre-back Issa Diop.
Craig Dawson’s presence in the backline has come under some scrutiny as both of the Hammers’ wins have come at the expense of three goals conceded – he was particularly poor against the Magpies, where fans lambasted him on Twitter after the game. One supporter dubbed him an “absolute donkey,” for example.
Last season, the 24-year-old was better on the ball (82.2%) than the English veteran (79.7%) and put in more tackles (1.1) per game, too (0.5), as per WhoScored.
Diop, who was once described as a “monster” by Jose Mourinho, is in desperate need of game time and there’s a good chance he will be required to play – even with the addition of Zouma – as the season rumbles on. West Ham could be faced with a 50-plus game campaign and he’s the youngest senior centre-back in Moyes’ ranks right now.
There may even be a benefit to putting him in the shop window right before deadline day. If they do want to move him on, then a good performance this weekend could put a few of those unnamed interested teams on alert.
It could be a game-changing call from Moyes to unleash the Frenchman today – it’s surely a win-win, whatever the Irons’ stance is.