Despite coming from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 in the first half, West Ham squandered all three points on Saturday as they fell 3-2 to Brentford for their third straight loss in the Premier League.
Now sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League table for the first time all season, the pressure continues to mount on David Moyes to get his side back to top form.
What did we learn from West Ham’s 3-2 loss to Brentford?
Michail Antonio should be dropped.
The form of Michail Antonio has seemingly been linked with the success of West Ham over recent years. When he is firing and scoring goals, West Ham are usually picking up points. By the same token, when he goes months at a time without scoring, like he is right now, West Ham struggle.
Moyes made it clear Antonio was his number-one choice after selling Gianluca Scamacca back to Italy this summer, and it looked the right one for the first few weeks.
Antonio scored crucial goals in West Ham’s victories over Chelsea and Brighton, but since then, has yet to find the back of the net. Moreover, Antonio missed a huge chance to make it 3-1 on Saturday, with many pinpointing that as the turning point of the game when he took the ball off Benrahma to miss in front of an open net.
David Moyes must consider having Jarrod Bowen play through the middle with Mohammed Kudus on the right. Whatever the decision, it is time for a spell on the bench for Antonio.
Nayef Aguerd is a liability in defense.
This isn’t a criticism of Aguerd’s general ability as much as it is a critique of how he fits into a David Moyes team. Aguerd has superb recovery pace and had a brilliant long pass on him, but neither of those attributes are much good in a Moyes system where you need to have a great presence inside the penalty area.
A number of goals conceded this season by West Ham have been down to irresponsible play near the goal by Aguerd, and his lack of physicality is becoming increasingly apparent.
Take Kurt Zouma for example, the perfect Moyes center-back. Zouma is great with his back to goal, a force in the air, and has great awareness inside the box. Aguerd may be a better passer and quicker than Zouma, but Zouma is far more effective than the Moroccan.
Just this weekend, it was a clumsy touch that led to a corner and the inability to let the ball run out of play by Aguerd that led to two Brentford goals. Aguerd probably won’t be losing his starting spot anytime soon, but Konstantinos Mavropanos should be considered to replace him if he does.
James Ward-Prowse can’t play as a deep midfielder.
David Moyes was without Edson Alvarez and Lucas Paqueta at the weekend due to suspension, leaving Soucek and Ward-Prowse to run the double-pivot in the midfield; let’s just say it didn’t go too well.
As he did against Aston Villa, Ward-Prowse consistently lacked the recovery pace to pick up runners and the physicality to deal with the ball in his own half. The strength of Ward-Prowse is his creativity and he needs to be further forward to do that.
Further, the rapid decline in output from Ward-Prowse is glaring now. When he was assisting and scoring regularly, few could complain about his overall form. Now that those goals and assists have gone away, some of his weaknesses as an overall midfielder are starting to become apparent.
It’s highly unlikely that Moyes will drop Ward-Prowse, but the Scotsman has to find a more suitable way to deploy him further forward in midfield once the likes of Alvarez and Paqueta return from suspension.
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