Like many Premier League managers David Moyes elected to make wholesale changes to his starting line up for the FA Cup match against Wigan, Premier League survival takes main focus, probably assumed that his team would have a battle on against a rampant and well drilled Wigan team and that they might even end up losing, but never in his worst nightmares could he have envisaged what eventually transpired at the DW Stadium.
To lose Pedro Obiang, one of his most reliable players , with what looks like a season ending injury was bad enough but to then lose Authur Masuaku ,one of his most essential players, for what could be anything from six to eight games as a result of him spitting at an opponent turned a ‘routine’ outing in to a Hammer Horror Show!
The two nil defeat was bad enough but the implications to West Ham United’s survival hopes are massive, losing two key players along with the ‘Arsenalesque’ current injury list has really altered the survival horizon. Through no fault of his own Moyes has cruelly been denied the use of six key players, many with long term injuries in the space of a few days, that’s over half his team! It doesn’t matter how much strength in depth or promising youth players you have, half a tea is half a team!
Suddenly Tuesday night’s match against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium takes on even more significance, a buoyant Palace team will relish the prospect of facing a Hammers team devoid of all it’s major striking options bar Javier Hernandez who has already indicated he wants out, and featuring a midfield that will be relying on new signing Joao Mario as the only creative player in the absence of Manuel Lanzini and ‘Elbows’ Arnoutovic. Defensively losing Obiang is a loss, but one that can be coped with, we wish Pedro all the best in what will be a long and arduous recovery.
Sam Byram seems to have overcome his long standing injury problems just in time to fill in for the recklessly stupid Authur Masuaku, yes he was on the receiving end of a really poor challenge but to spit at an opponent was not only abhorrent but was ridiculously stupid and irresponsible, Masuaku will argue that he did not spit directly in the opponents face, but why spit in his direction at all?. The irony being that if he had retaliated with a tackle that broke the protagonists leg he would have only received a three match ban, but then again if he had time to engage his brain to calculate his revenge then he probably would not have taken it!
Ultimately the result of the match is unimportant, but the consequences could be catastrophic for Hammer’s survival plans, hopes of mid table safety are beginning to look a little optimistic given recent events, and in case any West Ham Fans are in any doubt, the club is now in a real survival battle, and as it is unlikely that the owners will risk spending big during this transfer window it can only be hoped that they have a couple of incredibly creative loan options lined up!
By Daniel Hatcher