David Moyes appears to have finally found a formation that suits the current crop of players available to him in West Ham’s two most recent Premier League matches.
The manager named an unchanged side in the dramatic late victory over Chelsea and for the thrilling 2-2 draw with Newcastle United. But when West Ham welcome Burnley to the London Stadium this evening, the Scot should consider subtly tweak his starting eleven to continue the remarkable upturn of form, which has distanced the Irons from the drop zone.
Behind Michail Antonio – who has tirelessly operated as a lone striker – Moyes has selected Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini, producing outstanding results against in-form opposition. Bowen has been one of the liveliest performers of late, notching his third assist since arriving in January against the Magpies and has rapidly made himself one of this side’s most valuable assets. Conversely, Fornals did not cover himself in glory by making a criminal error to play Dwight Gayle onside, which allowed Newcastle to draw level for the second time instantly.
Andriy Yarmolenko was introduced as a substitute for the second match in succession, though sadly he was unable to offer the same goalscoring impact as he did against the Blues. Although, the Ukrainian international did show flashes of brilliance and tested opposition goalkeeper Martin Dubravka late on with a rasping drive.
Against the Clarets this evening Yarmolenko must make his first start since the Premier League’s resumption at the expense of Fornals. The 30-year-old has been incredibly lively during the 27 minutes he has been offered as a substitute by Moyes, suggesting he could have a more significant influence from the off.
So far this term only Robert Snodgrass, five, and Sebastien Haller, seven, have found the back of the net more frequently for this Hammers side than Yarmolenko’s four. While the 30-year-old operates almost exclusively as a right-winger, Bowen is comfortable on either flank and could be moved out to the left side of the midfield trio sitting behind Antonio.
Injury is always a concern with the Ukrainian given his horrific record since arriving in London, which is likely why Moyes has been limiting his minutes in recent appearances. Still, he has terrorised opposition defences and only needed one swing of his sledgehammer of a left foot to down Chelsea.
To continue the Irons’ upturn in form Yarmolenko must be offered a more significant role by Moyes. Even if he is not capable of completing 90 minutes, given his recent performances the winger should get the chance to add to his Premier League goalscoring tally.