David Moyes will have a selection headache in the striker position ahead of West Ham’s match against Aston Villa on Monday night.
Having scored the winner for West Ham against Sheffield United, Sebastien Haller would normally be one of the first names on the team sheet. The return of Michail Antonio, however, could be the one thing stopping Haller from keeping his spot. Moyes will have to pick one to start but which one will he back?
The Case For Antonio
Antonio is expected to fit for the match against Aston Villa the striker only just missed out on being involved in the match against the Blades. The 30-year-old when fit should arguably take the starting striker berth.
Since ‘Project Restart‘ Antonio has been in scintillating form in front of goal. The Englishman has scored eleven goals in his last thirteen Premier League matches. This record includes scoring three goals in six appearances this season. Antonio has proved to be a better goalscorer in the top division than Haller.
David Moyes has clearly preferred to use Antonio over Haller. Not only because of the goals Antonio has scored but because he better fits the Scots system. Moyes likes to play with one striker that presses the opposition defence and can get in behind. Antonio plays this role perfectly, Haller less so.
It could also be argued that the team played better as a whole when Antonio was in the side. West Ham pulled off big wins against Wolves and Leicester, while also earning draws against Tottenham Manchester City.
The Case For Haller
Haller has become one of the most divisive characters in West Ham history between sets of fans. Some believe he is brilliant and some think he doe not put in enough effort. In truth, Haller is a top striker being played in a system that does not suit him, significantly his ability to affect the game.
West Ham’s record signing though has a decent goal return this season. Haller has scored six goals in eleven appearances, four of which did come in the League Cup. The now Ivorian is actually the club’s top goalscorer this season.
Haller has proved that he is capable in front of goal with the right service, as proved in his goal against Wolves. The 26-year-old is a different player to Antonio and makes different types of runs, something the other player needs to adapt to. There have been plenty of moments Haller has been made to look incompetent because a supporting player has made the wrong decision.
The goal Haller scored against Sheffield was a brilliant strike. It should convince the other players of his ability leading to them passing to him more when he is playing. If the supporting players like Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals take notice then they will realise Haller is quite often in very dangerous positions.
Antonio will be the starting striker for West Ham when he has fully recovered from his injury. In the meantime, Haller can be an effective option for David Moyes. There is always a risk with Antonio that he can be rushed back to fitness and suffer a relapse.
Haller can be the reason that this trend is put to a stop. The Ivorian international is a proven goalscorer and can be one at the Hammers. There may have to be a few tweaks to the system when the striker changes, but it does not have to be detrimental to the side.