West Ham United have been handed an injury boost regarding Nayef Aguerd ahead of their Europa Conference League clash with FCSB tonight.
What’s the latest?
According to Claret & Hugh, Aguerd is in line to start the game after continuing his recovery from ankle surgery in July, with Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma likely to drop to the bench, in aid of resting them for the Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
As tonight’s game is a dead rubber, it presents a good opportunity for the Moroccan centre-back to get back up to speed in a game which will have a lower pace, without the need to exert himself in the way he would in a more important fixture.
While the Hammers have already confirmed their place in the knockout phase of the Europa Conference League, Moyes’ £30m summer signing coming through unscatched, after making his first competitive appearance for the club against Silkeborg IF last week, will be welcome news for the manager going forward.
The 26-year-old arrived at the club with a good pedigree, averaging 2.88 aerials won per 90 minutes over the past year, compared to a figure of 2.36 averaged by Craig Dawson in the same time frame.
It is the Englishman that the West Ham boss will be wanting the £50k-per-week enforcer to dislodge in the starting eleven, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, and there seemingly being no new deal on the horizon.
As such, the fact that the summer acquisition is now in a position to start games is a big boost for the Scottish boss, as he looks to bed in the more than capable heir to his stalwart defender, big shoes to fill considering that the Englishman was named in the 2021/22 Europa League team of the season.
The Hammers’ 6 foot 2 defender was dubbed “stylish” by Moyes upon his arrival at the club, while journalist Ryan Taylor described Dawson as an “old fashioned, no-nonsense, out-and-out defender“, and so the return of a centre-back more suited to the demands of modern-day football will come as welcome news.
With the Irons competing on all fronts this season, having as big a squad as possible to choose from is imperative, especially considering that Europa Conference League games are likely to mount up later in the season, and so having their defensive colossus available tonight allows them to give other players such as Thilo Kehrer and Kurt Zouma a rest, keeping them fresh for Sunday.
Aguerd’s continued recovery is fantastic news for West Ham, and his manager will be hoping that he can put in another solid performance, after picking up a very respectable 7.2 SofaScore rating in his first match for the club.