West Ham return to Premier League action this afternoon as manager David Moyes returns to his former stomping ground, Goodison Park.
The 58-year-old faces a tough dilemma as the Irons embark on a run of seven games in just 22 days, starting with a trip to in-form Everton.
Nine of Moyes’ starting XI have started all seven of their league matches so far and that would have been ten had Michail Antonio not received a one-game suspension for the Manchester United defeat.
The Hammers’ boss has also revealed that he may be suffering with one or two injuries heading into kickoff and that’s the last thing they need with so many games coming thick and fast.
It could, therefore, be wise to rest a player that has been through the grinder since the back end of last season in Tomas Soucek, whose form has suffered in amongst some leggy outings that appear to have taken its toll on the midfielder.
He was one of the many West Ham stars to feature during the international break too, and whilst he excelled during the Czech Republic’s latest victory, as explained in more detail by Football FanCast here, he may well need a prolonged rest.
There are some key fixtures against the likes of Genk in the Europa League as well as Spurs, Manchester City and Aston Villa in the Premier League this month.
The 26-year-old box-to-box colossus was one of the standout stars of their sixth-place finish last season, in which he finished the campaign as their joint-top goalscorer on ten goals.
He is yet to hit the ground running in 2021/22, having scored just once in seven appearances. At that rate, he’ll struggle to score more than six times – a vast regression for the club’s current ‘Player of the Year’.
Elsewhere, his WhoScored rating has tailed off substantially, decreasing from 7.36 (highest in the squad) to 6.87 (sixth highest). Soucek is also averaging fewer interceptions (0.7 decrease), aerials won (3.3 decrease) and dribbles (0.3 decrease) per game, too.
The £45k-per-week star was once dubbed “unplayable” by former Everton winger Yannick Bolasie. but it’s clear that last season’s crucial run-in, combined with his appearances at Euro 2020, a lack of real pre-season and this campaign’s hectic schedule, have badly affected his form in the claret and blue.
It would be a wise call for Moyes to be brutal and axe the £45m-rated beast from his starting XI today. It’s a decision that could well benefit the squad in the longer term.