West Ham have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of their Europa League clash this evening…
The Hammers are expected to be without the services of right-back Vladimir Coufal for the next three matches due to an ongoing problem, according to club insiders Claret and Hugh.
He missed the weekend’s 1-0 win over Everton, having pulled out of his Czech Republic duties over the international break, and now it appears he will miss both the Genk game and the London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
It is hoped that he could resume training next week but a clash with defending champions Manchester City may prove to be too soon for a return.
Speaking about the 29-year-old after the game on Sunday, the Irons boss said, via football.london.
“Vladimir has taken an injection he had a bit of discomfort in his pubis. He has had an injection in there, he got the injury in the Man United cup game and he has been carrying it for a few weeks.”
This will come as a massive setback to Moyes and West Ham.
Coufal missed their last Europa League game with what seemed like a knock but was able to return in the defeat to Brentford right before the break, though you could tell that he was far from 100% as he put in a disappointing display.
He was then not named in the squad to face the Toffees and according to the reliable insiders, he’s set to be out for the next three matches, which is certainly devastating as he is the clear first-choice option in the role.
The Irons have some important and tricky fixtures coming up, so to not have the £18m-rated right-back available is certainly gutting news.
His value to the side and their chances of success cannot be understated. He finished last season with the second-highest number of assists (seven), only behind fellow full-back Aaron Cresswell (eight).
That goes to show that Moyes’ wide department is a crucial creative cog in this system.
Furthermore, Coufal has been an absolute animal defensively, too – as per WhoScored, he averaged a squad-high 2.1 tackles per game and wasn’t far behind for interceptions (1.2 per game) either.
That form had continued into the current campaign, where he is averaging 2.1 tackles each outing once again.
Perhaps Jamie Carragher’s endorsement of him on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football last season truly hints at his influence, he said [4th May, 22:24pm]:
“We talk about [Tomas] Soucek, but Coufal whether it’s right wing-back or right full-back at different times, he’s just one of those players that’s 7/10 minimum every time you watch him play.
“He’s the type of player you’d love to play with him. A manager’s dream, never injured, he’s there week in week out.”
On the above evidence, this will be a frustrating development that is sure to leave Moyes hugely worried heading into some very important fixtures.
A win over Genk would keep up their 100% record in the Europa League, whilst matches against Spurs have always offered up goals and drama, and then there’s the small matter of Pep Guardiola’s City.
In an ideal world, Moyes would have loved to have Coufal available, so it’s a major blow to the Hammers.