Hammers boss David Moyes asks baffling striker question after being quizzed by the press on Michail Antonio following the defeat to Leeds.
West Ham played right into Marcelo Bielsa’s hands by getting involved in a topsy turvy game against Leeds.
And they came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat, although on the balance of chances West Ham certainly deserved a draw.
And up front Antonio just did not look himself as he toiled with little success. The West Ham striker got too readily involved in a physical battle with the Leeds defence rather than using his brain and pulling off them to run in behind.
Antonio did play a big part in West Ham’s second equaliser. But overall he just was not at the races and there was palpable frustration inside the London Stadium at the lack of options to change things up.
Fans have been urging the club to sign another striker since BEFORE Moyes sold Sebastien Haller to Ajax a year ago.
After the game the press quizzed Moyes about Antonio, saying he looked out of sorts and tired.
In response Moyes asked a baffling striker question which will puzzle supporters.
The Scot said there was not a lot he could do about Antonio being tired because he is West Ham’s only forward.
David Moyes asks baffling striker question after being quizzed by press on Michail Antonio
“We noticed that as well (that Antonio looked tired and off his game),” Moyes told reporters (Football.London).
“But it is difficult when you have to play. He is one of our key goalscorers.
“We were chasing the game from 15 minutes in and it was really difficult to change him. He was out on his legs after the game but again what can we do?”
Listen Moyes has done such a remarkable job at West Ham that he is almost beyond reproach.
But to ask what West Ham can do about Antonio is maddening to hear.
How about sign another striker as the fans have been pleading the club to for two years!?
Moyes admitted himself at the weekend he has been looking for a striker ever since returning to West Ham (Football.London).
And the Hammers boss also insisted he has the full backing of the West Ham board to make signings in the January transfer window (whufc.com).
Indeed Antonio said recently he would welcome another striker at West Ham with whom he could share the goalscoring burden (Standard Sport).
Yes there is a dearth of striker talent across Europe. And Moyes has always insisted he wants the right characters and players to improve the team not just make up the numbers.
But it simply cannot take this length of time to identify and sign a striker in the modern game. Because you quickly get left behind.
While Moyes’s due diligence in recruitment has served West Ham extremely well since his return, perhaps he is being a touch too cautious when it comes to signing a striker?
It is highly unusual for a Premier League club to have just one senior striker on their books. And Manchester City don’t really count because they have five or six of the best attacking midfielders and wide forwards in Europe to pick from.
It is not true, though, that “anybody would be better than nobody” to act as backup to Antonio. That is a throwaway line muttered by frustrated fans when Antonio is having an off day or picks up a knock.
West Ham have seen with the likes of Albian Ajeti, Jordan Hugill and a plethora of others down the years, that is not the answer.
There must, however, be a striker out there who may not tick all of Moyes’s due diligence boxes, but could do a job for West Ham.
Head of recruitment Rob Newman has had plenty of time to help the club identify a striker signing too.
We can only hope that one of the bids Moyes says he has made “behind the scenes” this month pays off before the window closes.