West Ham could be without centre-back Kurt Zouma for the remainder of the season after he suffered an ankle injury in the club’s 2-0 loss to Brentford last Sunday.
THE LOWDOWN: NOT IDEAL
Just a couple of days before they compete in the second leg of their huge Europa League quarter-final with Lyon, the Hammers have been dealt a crushing blow.
Zouma has been a constant in the Irons side this season with only Aaron Creswell boasting a better WhoScored rating throughout the season among claret and blue defenders.
The Frenchman was forced off less than half an hour into Sunday’s game at the Brentford Community Stadium and the diagnosis looks bleak for manager David Moyes.
THE LATEST: WORRYING SCAN
On Tuesday evening a club statement announced that the 27-year-old would miss Thursday’s crunch European tie, hinting at a long-term issue.
“The France international defender is to remain in London for further tests and examination on the ankle injury he suffered during Sunday’s Premier League match at Brentford.”
Now, in an update, The Guardian said scans have revealed that one of Moyes’ preferred centre-back choices could be out for the rest of the campaign.
The tests indicate that the former Chelsea defender will be out for at least a month and that the club will continue to assess the injury in the hope that the initial suggestion is “overly pessimistic”.
THE VERDICT: HUGE BLOW
Already without the suspended Cresswell, Moyes has been given another unwanted headache heading into arguably his biggest game as Irons manager.
The east London club lost four of the eight matches that Zouma missed through a hamstring injury between December and January and his most likely replacement, Issa Diop, has failed to have a similar impact on the team keeping just two clean sheets in nine starts and recently came under fire for his lacklustre performances.
It is a worry for the Irons’ supporters heading into the second leg and an exit from the Europa League would be a sickening blow to their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season with their top-six place in the Premier League also now in jeopardy, with the side sat level on points with Manchester United, who have a game in hand.