West Ham: Moyes must drop Soucek

West Ham United head into this evening’s Europa Conference League meeting with RSC Anderlecht in improved form, with David Moyes’ side having now won three of their last four fixtures after losing four of their first eight in 2022/23.

Indeed, the 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday was just the Hammers’ second win of the new Premier League campaign, although the Irons do boast a much better record in Europe – winning all four of their continental meetings so far this season.

However, despite a victory over Anderlecht putting Moyes’ men in pole position to go on and secure qualification for the knockout stages, the 59-year-old has hinted that he may field something of a rotated starting XI at Lotto Park this evening.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Scot said (via the Evening Standard): “These are the sorts of games where there’s a chance you can give these boys an opening and a great opportunity to play, show what they can do.”

And, despite a much-improved showing in the win over Wolves last time out, Thursday’s fixture would appear a perfect opportunity for Moyes to drop Tomas Soucek to the bench – affording the midfielder both a rest and a chance to reset.

Indeed, the 27-year-old has failed to live up to his exceptionally high standards in the current campaign, with FBref ranking the £44m-rated talent in the bottom 7% of Premier League midfielders for passes attempted per 90, as well as the bottom 13% for passes completed, the bottom 7% for touches and the bottom 4% for dribbles completed this season.

The £67k-per-week Czech international also ranks in the bottom 46% for tackles per 90, in addition to the bottom 40% for pressures, the bottom 15% of successful pressures and the bottom 33% for passes blocked so far this term.

This is form that has not gone unnoticed, with Martin Keown claiming Soucek looked “a bit leggy” against Silkeborg earlier this season, while ExWHUemployee stated his belief on The West Ham Way podcast last month that the 27-year-old has often let games pass him by in the current campaign.

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“The whole game is bypassing him regularly,” the West Ham insider said. “He’s had a good half against Tottenham, from memory. A decent game against Chelsea, from memory. Other than that, he hasn’t performed. Honestly, I’ve been saying this for over a year now, I’ve been saying this for about a year and a half. The game just bypasses him.”

As such, while it is undeniable that Soucek is an incredibly talented footballer on his day, with Moyes looking to rotate against Anderlecht, the 54-cap international simply must be dropped by the 59-year-old, as a rest from first-team football could well help the midfielder refind his impressive form of old – something that would greatly benefit West Ham.