For the West Ham United supporters, the injury suffered by winger Michail Antonio away at League Two Newport County on Tuesday night was the last thing they wanted.
The 29-year-old has carved himself out a nice role as a super substitute so far this season – although not a title he probably wanted – and the loss of his particular set of skills is a real blow for the Hammers.
Many West Ham fans will surely have their heads in their hands on Friday night, then, after the latest update on the fitness – or lack thereof – of the former Nottingham Forest man.
Football Insider reported that scans have revealed that Antonio will need to have surgery having torn his hamstring against Newport, and is expected to be out for three months.
That’s devastating news for the player himself, because he’s already facing a real challenge for first team football. Attacking midfield is the most competitive area of the pitch for the east London outfit, and these few months could be costly for Antonio.
However, that’s not to take away from what his loss will deprive manager Manuel Pellegrini of. In short, West Ham are losing a whole lot of pace, power, aerial and goalscoring ability.
Felipe Anderson is a fairly regular goalscorer, while Manuel Lanzini chips in with a few as well, as does captain Mark Noble from the penalty spot, but beyond that there aren’t too many goals coming from the Hammers’ midfield. Antonio provides them, though.
As per WhoScored.com, he’s averaging 1.7 shots per game already this Premier League campaign despite only playing 126 minutes of football. Furthermore, he’s scored at least six goals in three of his four full seasons at the London Stadium [Source: Transfermarkt].
So the Irons are losing plenty with Antonio’s absence, and he won’t be easy to replace. This surgery is bad news for the team’s supporters, that’s for sure.