Manuel Pellegrini faces a “big decision” on whether or not to start Andriy Yarmolenko when West Ham face Aston Villa on Monday, according to Football.London journalist Sam Inkersole.
The Ukrainian winger is away on international duty at the moment, and could lineup against Nigeria in Dnipro on Tuesday evening.
And if the 29-year-old is included, Inkersole believes it could leave Pellegrini in a quandary.
Writing in a piece for Football.London, he said: “The manager could be in for a big decision should the winger play against Nigeria in Dnipro on Tuesday night.
“Then again, the Ukrainian will have had plenty of time to recover in the aftermath thanks to the Hammers next game being played on Monday.”
You can see where Inkersole is coming from on this one. On the one hand, Yarmolenko is starting to show exactly the kind of form that convinced the Hammers to splash out on him in the first place. So far this season, he has averaged 1.3 shots, 1.3 key passes, and one successful dribble per game in the Premier League, as per Whoscored. You would expect those numbers to keep rising as the season progresses, but if he is to be a regular contributor for the Hammers this season, then Pellegrini will have to ease him into things. The Ukrainian was out for a long, long time last term, and even if he is fit and firing now, he will feel that he has a while to go before he can be confident that he is 100% ready for a prolonged run in the side. That being said, Tuesday to Monday is a long rest, even if it does involve a trip back to London from Eastern Europe. Expect Yarmolenko to feature against Villa.