West Ham boss David Moyes absolutely must bring Ben Johnson back into the team and drop Vladimir Coufal when football resumes at the weekend.
Coufal, 29, has been brilliant for the Hammers since making his £5 million move to the London Stadium from Slavia Prague ion October 2020 (The Guardian).
The Czech Republic international was unlucky to suffer a groin injury earlier on this season, however. Ben Johnson filled in for the right-back during this absence and did brilliantly well.
And since Coufal returned to action, he quite simply hasn’t been the same player. In fact, the last two games the former Slavia Prague ace played for West Ham against Leeds and Manchester United respectively were quite possibly his worst ever performances in a Hammers shirt.
Meanwhile, Ben Johnson has been watching on from the sidelines.
David Moyes must make bold call and drop West Ham man
Coufal is an incredibly popular figure at the London Stadium and he always gives 110% when playing for the Hammers.
Because of that, it’s incredibly hard to criticise the 29-year-old and it just doesn’t sit right when doing so.
However, there is no room for sentiment in the Premier League.
And as things stand, Ben Johnson is by far the better option at right-back for West Ham.
The 22-year-old has been far superior to Coufal in every defensive category so far this season.
In 11 Premier League appearances for West Ham so far this season, Johnson has averaged 2.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.6 clearances per game. He has also registered a pass completion rate of over 70% (Who Scored).
Compare those numbers to Coufal’s.
In 20 Premier League outings, the Czech international has averaged 1.7 tackles, one interception and two clearances per game. His pass completion rate is currently below 70% (Who Scored).
The stats just back up what we can see with our eyes.
Johnson possesses more pace than Coufal, is far more dynamic and his positional sense even seems to be better than his more experienced teammate’s of late.
At 22, Johnson obviously still has plenty of years to improve even further still. He is a top-class player now though, so the sky will be the limit for the East London born ace.
Meanwhile, Coufal needs to knuckle down and rediscover the form that he showed during his debut campaign with West Ham.
Perhaps being dropped for Johnson is exactly what he needs in order to spark his Hammers career back into life.
West Ham return to action on Saturday with an FA Cup fourth round clash with Kidderminster Harriers. We then play host to Watford on Tuesday night before traveling to the East Midlands to take on Leicester the following Sunday.
Those three games are absolutely huge in the context of the Hammers’ season.
David Moyes failed to sign anybody during the January transfer window. Every single person involved with West Ham is feeling pretty flat at the moment.
The team have a great opportunity to lift the mood over the course of the next 10 days, however. And in my opinion, bringing Ben Johnson back into the team in place of Vladimir Coufal will give us a good chance of doing just that.
We don’t think it’s the end of Coufal at his best at the London Stadium, far from it. But it is time for him to take a back seat. It will do the team and the player himself the world of good.