West Ham United boss David Moyes must keep the faith in Manuel Lanzini when his side travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley this afternoon.
The Irons bounced back in the Premier League with a stunning 3-2 victory over rivals Chelsea last weekend, having witnessed defeats to Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers beforehand.
Moyes named a heavily-rotated starting XI for their final Europa League group game as a youthful-looking Hammers outfit were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Dinamo Zagreb.
The Scot now has several dilemmas to consider heading into today’s kick-off, not at least in the attack, where he could well bring Said Benrahma back into the fold after his axe against the Blues.
However, with Lanzini in much better form right now, the West Ham manager must stick with the Argentine against the Clarets.
His 40th-minute penalty was his second goal in three games, which is even more impressive considering his appearance at the London Stadium last Sunday was his first league start of the 21/22 campaign.
It’s now three direct goal contributions in his last five appearances and that is much better returns than the Algerian winger, who will be off on Africa Cup of Nations duty next month anyway. It could be wise for Moyes to find his replacement, sooner rather than later.
After starting the season on fire, contributing a pair of goals and assists in the Irons’ opening two games, Benrahma has now gone ten games without scoring a goal, in which he has provided just the one assist.
He has failed to register a WhoScored rating above 6.9 in any of his last eight outings either, with his performances in those two aforementioned defeats drawing his lowest two ratings of the season, a 6.04 against City and a 6.15 against Wolves.
There will be a temptation to bring him back into the fold as on his day, he can be a nightmare for the opposition but Sean Dyche’s side are a tough outfit and the 26-year-old lightweight could be exposed in the current form he’s in.
Instead, Moyes should start Lanzini for the second successive game. Last weekend, he was described as “West Ham’s main creative spark” by The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas, whilst in the past ex-Hammers boss Slaven Bilic likened him to Luka Modric.
Therefore, the £70k-per-week player, who was also dubbed a “top player” with “wonderful feet” by Darren Bent, must start against Burnley – and over Benrahma – this afternoon. It could be another game-changing call from Moyes if so.