This has been a bit of an up and down season for West Ham United winger Michail Antonio, but the Englishman has undoubtedly found his finest form in years over the past couple of months.
The 28-year-old, then, will surely be scratching his head at his recent exclusion from manager Manuel Pellegrini’s starting line ups. Antonio has been left on the substitutes bench for the team’s past two Premier League games against Newcastle United and Cardiff City.
He’s played just half an hour of football across those two games, a bizarre state of affairs considering the dazzling form the former Nottingham Forest man was in prior to his surprise removal.
Antonio scored against both Liverpool and Fulham recently, making it two goals in four games for the rapid winger. For him to go from that to warming the bench for the past two games makes no sense.
This is far and away the best form Antonio has been in all campaign, so naturally you’d expect him to continue to be a big part of Pellegrini’s plans. That that hasn’t happened is baffling in the extreme.
There’s no doubt that he was missed in the disappointing 2-0 defeat at Cardiff last time out. He got some time off the bench but it wasn’t enough for him to lift the Hammers out of their malaise.
With that team display in mind, it would be a major surprise to see Antonio ignored once again for West Ham’s clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Simply put, Pellegrini needs to wake up and put one of his most in form players back into the starting line up moving forward. It’s an absolute no-brainer.