It was yet another disappointing home result for West Ham as they were held 1-1 by Newcastle.
Despite losing only twice in their last 10 games, the Hammers’ performances have been poor in recent weeks.
Michail Antonio sums up the team’s displays as he was once again underwhelming. Something needs to change, is it time Antonio was dropped from the starting XI?
Should West Ham drop striker Michail Antonio due to his continuing bad performances?
The Jamaican striker has only managed two goals in his last 16 Premier League games, going as far back as October. Strikers sometimes go through dry patches but it’s not just the lack of goals, he’s barely made a difference since the turn of the year and looks leggy.
Antonio’s hold up play hasn’t been good enough, he’s not been as mobile as normal nor has he been in the correct positions, only highlighting that he doesn’t have that poacher’s instinct found in out and out strikers. It’s the complete opposite to the Antonio at the beginning of the season.
Newcastle, similarly to Watford, sat deep in the second half which nullifies Antonio’s game. Consequently, when teams apply a low block against West Ham, technical play is more needed to break them down, Antonio doesn’t have that but at the same time the rest of the side aren’t creating chances for him.
Manager, David Moyes, desperately needs to try something else as a vital stage of the season is upon us with games in the Europa League, FA Cup and against European chasing rivals in the league approaching.
It feels like West Ham have been found out and their inability to break down sides in a low defensive block has been frustrating. If the decision is made to drop Antonio, the inform Jarrod Bowen must start up front.
To take his place in midfield, perhaps Nikola Vlasic is the answer. Hammers fans believe there’s a player in there and now deserves a run of games. He’s a direct runner, capable of quick combination play with his passing and works hard off the ball.
Pablo Fornals and the frustrated to be subbed off Said Benrahma, haven’t been at their best. Vlasic must get more of a chance as Moyes has to trust his squad after choosing to not invest in any new players in January.
However, West Ham must battle with their current side. Antonio needs a goal to boost his confidence, no matter how it goes in he’ll take it, but it might be time to try something new and take him out the line-up.
He can still be impactful off the bench in the closing stages of games to add physicality but from the first whistle it feels like time for a switch in set-up and tactics.