West Ham United’s destiny is in their own hands.
The Irons need to clinch four points from their final two Premier League matches to secure a place in Europe next season, and that begins with an encounter against West Brom at the Hawthorns this evening.
It sees the East London outfit lock horns with their former manager, Sam Allardyce, who has struggled to keep Albion in the division, so there will not be a better opportunity to pick up 75% of those required points than tonight.
David Moyes has plenty to ponder in terms of team selection, especially as his side have won just one of their last five outings and are in need of a result here.
The 58-year-old could perhaps count his lucky stars that the Hammers managed to secure a point down at Brighton on Saturday night as they struggled once again.
He can thank substitute Said Benrahma for his late equaliser, and the Algerian winger ought to be rewarded with a start from the off this time.
It was actually his first strike for the club, a sublime effort too.
Benrahma picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and curled a delightful ball in off the post past the Seagulls goalkeeper, certainly showing signs of that Brentford form that earned him a £30m move to the London Stadium.
In the half-hour or so he was on the pitch, the £18m-rated dynamo was a far more creative influence than the man he replaced, Jarrod Bowen.
As per SofaScore, he recorded two key passes, a feat which was only bettered by Aaron Cresswell (four) whilst he’s amongst Moyes’ best options on the ball, having averaged 1.4 dribbles per game this season, which is above Bowen (0.9) too.
It can be argued that Benrahma offers a different type of threat to anyone else in the squad – he’s been lauded as a “real magician” by former Nice teammate Lorenzo Vinci and Brentford B coach Sam Saunders once claimed that the winger “could nutmeg a mermaid.”
This sort of spark against a team already down in the dumps could be a big game-changer, even more so given the Irons’ recent struggles in front of goal. There aren’t many who can provide the sort of quality we saw at the weekend, that’s for sure.
Moyes must punish the Baggies by unleashing Benrahma from the start this evening.