West Ham Should Watch Lucas Paqueta Flourish with Brazil

West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta celebrates his goal for Brazil. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta celebrates his goal for Brazil. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images) /

Another rousing win for the dancing Brazilians saw West Ham’s very own marquee playmaker, Lucas Paqueta, get in on the scoring against South Korea. West Ham and specifically David Moyes should be eyeing up how the midfield maestro is being deployed.

Seeing Lucas Paqueta start for Brazil in their opening two matches against Serbia and Switzerland was indicative of his importance to Tete’s team. Even more telling, was his resting against Cameroon in the final group-stage match that the Canaries lost to Cameroon. He is a crucial member of his Brazilian team and has shown his impressive imprint on play with one key caveat – when he’s played in his best position.

West Ham’s most important post-World Cup goal is getting the best out of Lucas Paqueta.

West Ham have set up with Paqueta as a number 10 in recent matches before and after his injury. Sitting behind Gianluca Scamacca, between pacy and tricky wingers, and ahead of a Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek double pivot.

The problem with this role is Paqueta is isolated too far up the pitch to fully pull the strings and open up defending teams. His ideal role is alongside a stalwart defensive midfielder like Rice. There, Paqueta can see the field, link up with a proper number 10 and morph the team into a more formidable attacking threat with his unlocking ball movement.

On display with Brazil against South Korea, Paqueta showed exactly what he can do when he has the freedom to roam through a pressing, possession-heavy, and fast-paced attacking team:

His match stats match that remarkable finish and even better celebration. The midfielder performed as follows: 90% pass accuracy 68 touches 52 passes completed 3 key passes 3/4 ground duels won 2/2 long balls completed 2 shots on target 1 big chance created 1 goal.

As exemplified in his goal, Paqueta was late to the box on a powerful rush on the left wing headed up by Vinicius Jr. His trailing position saw him lost by the South Korean defenders, hiding behind Neymar’s run and perfectly slotting home the soft volley past three defenders and a helpless keeper.

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What Paqueta’s serious run does is put more pressure on David Moyes to figure out a strategy that gets Paqueta playing as well as he does for his country back in the Premier League. With the second half of the season quickly approaching, Moyes better adapt to his players before the pressure becomes too much.