Two weeks off for West Ham has given time for plenty of plotting for David Moyes, opening the door for the Hammers latest starlet for a fresh opportunity.
The injury to Michail Antonio obviously opened the door for Sebastien Haller to start for West Ham in their last match against Fulham. The nervy win for the Hammers showcased some strengths of the big-money striker who failed to get on the scoresheet but still looked threatening and wasn’t far off on multiple occasions.
The team was unchanged around him, with Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen flanking him in a familiar 5-2-3 formation from David Moyes. Despite many chances being created, a lack of goals saw an early sub of Said Benrahma on for Fornals and eventually, he would assist the winning goal.
Haller was instrumental in this goal, pulling two defenders on the cross from Fabian Balbuena which created the space for Benrahma to square the ball to Tomas Soucek. Benrahma being committed forward and supporting Haller from a wider position, showing quick chemistry from the duo.
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The effectiveness of Benrahma, albeit in a limited showing, alongside Haller suggests David Moyes could return to his ‘A Team – B Team’ mentality with Michail Antonio still recovering from injury and the FA Cup early round approaching.
Previously, Haller was flanked by Felipe Anderson (loaned out to Porto) and Andriy Yarmolenko (COVID-19) so new additions, like Benrahma, would be needed. For the Hammers, Robert Snodgrass on the right side of the pitch could be a revelation in providing Haller the service he needs.
The pending match against Sheffield United is the chance for a B-Team to get a run-out and impress, although Jarrod Bowen won’t be unseated at right-wing. Benrahma should really start along with Haller; both players have had strong International breaks and with Antonio likely to make the bench, it could be a good chance to give him more rest than he needs for his hamstring.
Rotation is something to lean on in a season like this, and West Ham are lucky enough to be able to do so. Ironically, Antonio’s injury could have opened up Benrahma’s chance for a run of games, not just Haller’s, and Moyes should embrace the opportunity against a struggling Sheffield.