£30m man on fire, 23-year-old shouldn’t get new deal; 4 things we learned as West Ham United reach quarter-finals against AEK Larnaca.
West Ham absolutely cruised through our last-16 UEFA Europa Conference League tie with the Cypriot outfit 6-0 on aggregate.
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It was a fairly uninspiring evening inside the first-half at the London Stadium, but as David Moyes will undoubtedly have pointed out to his players, it was a professional job well done by the boys.
We ramped it up in the second-half, with the visitors down to 10 men and put them to the sword.
The Hammers will be in the hat for tomorrow’s quarter-final draw, and we’ve got to be happy about that haven’t we.
But what did we learn tonight? Was there anything really useful that David Moyes can take from tonight?
Four things we learned during West Ham vs AEK Larnaca clash
Firstly, can we all agree…Gianluca Scamacca is the best striker at the club. I don’t care if we played against a League Two standard team tonight – the Italian has everything needed to be a success in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old’s link-up play, impeccable technique and intelligent runs are right up there with the very best. His finishing is pretty decent as well! He just needs to play regularly now, and Moyes has to get him in the starting XI at every single opportunity between now and the end of the season.
Signed for £30 million in the summer (Independent), Scamacca will surely be worth every bit of that when he truly settles into the club and life in England.
Secondly, I think it’s clear to see that Ben Johnson is not good enough to be playing at this level anymore. If he’s getting undone by a Cypriot side, then he really does have no hope in the Premeir League.
Johnson, 23, is one of our own, so it’s hard to admit this, but he surely shouldn’t be handed a new contract. The defender’s positional awareness, concentration levels and general ability really are terribly poor. I believe Moyes will have been shocked to see just how bad Johnson was against this level of opposition today.
Thirdly, Pablo Fornals just has to play in a central position going forward. The way that the Spaniard pulls the strings in the middle of the park is mesmeric to watch at times.
The 27-year-old lacks any kind of pace, so Moyes playing him out wide is completely pointless. I get that the Scot likes Fornals’ willingness to track back, but we need to be setting up a lot more positively now.
And Fornals playing centrally alongside Declan Rice and Lucas Paqueta could well be the way forward for us.
Finally, it’s obvious to see that Divin Mubama has a great future in the game. The 18-year-old has been lighting it up for the under-21s this season, but tonight he proved that he’s ready to make an impact at senior level.
The teenager’s movement is sensational. He has the centre-forward instinct that all the greats throughout history had, and it’s something that you just can’t teach. Mubama is going places and I would love to see Moyes give him more chances between now and the end of the season.
The AEK Larnaca clash was about as straightforward as they come for West Ham. Hopefully Moyes took a lot from the game though, because he needs to mix things up when Premier League action resumes after the international break.
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