Mark Noble has admitted he is concerned about West Ham United striker Michail Antonio as David Moyes faces a big dilemma this week.
Moyes elected not to sign another striker in the summer, telling reporters there were none available that he wanted to bring to West Ham (The Independent).
Antonio has started the season in fine form for West Ham, winning the August Premier League player of the month award.
He has six goals in six games and two assists after his brilliant last minute winner up at Leeds last time out.
Noble voices Antonio concerns
Hammers captain Mark Noble has voiced concerns over Antonio’s workload as West Ham face a jam-packed fixture schedule with the addition of European football.
And Noble has admitted the striker must be managed carefully because West Ham rely so heavily on him – as proved in the defeat to Manchester United recently (whufc.com).
“We obviously didn’t have Mich on Sunday and there’ll be times we haven’t got him this season, but he’s been so good for us over the years,” Noble told whufc.com.
‘We have to be careful because you can’t just play him every week and in midweek games in Europe and cup games because it’s not fair’
“For how much we bought him for, value for money, what he’s given to the team and given to the club, he’s been phenomenal, and he deserves all the credit he’s getting at the minute and we are going to need him for sure in a lot of games this year.
“We also have to be careful because you can’t just play him every week and in midweek games in Europe and cup games because it’s not fair to him. He needs to be fresh and bright and he needs to be the Mich we know.
“I’m pretty sure the manager will judge when to put him in and take him out, and he’s a really valuable asset to our team at the moment.”
Moyes facing big West Ham dilemma this week with home double header
Well Moyes faces another big dilemma this week over Antonio.
The West Ham boss suggested recently that he was going to rest Antonio for the impressive 2-0 Europa League win away at Dinamo Zagreb two weeks ago.
But his sending off at Southampton which ruled him out of the Prem clash against the Red Devils meant Moyes elected to play him in the Europa tie, in which he scored.
Antonio’s injury record generally means he cannot play two games in close succession.
Too big a risk for Antonio to play two games in three days with Prem the priority?
Last week, Moyes opted to rest Antonio for the Carabao Cup victory at Old Trafford as he saved him for Leeds three days later.
This week Moyes must decide whether to start Antonio against Rapid Wien in the Europa League on Thursday night knowing he has a game against Brentford three days later.
The good news for West Ham is that it is a home double header at the London Stadium which means minimal travel.
West Ham proved against Man United in the cup that they can win without Antonio.
But Hammers fans want to see the manager go for it in the Europa League so it is a difficult decision.
It could be that Antonio starts against the Austrians with West Ham looking to get in a comfortable position early on before giving him a rest.
Or he may be kept on the bench and only used if needed.
Brentford will undoubtedly be Moyes’s priority. And West Ham could really put themselves in a strong early league position with a win over Thomas Frank’s side going into the next international break.
One thing West Ham fans know is that Moyes invariably makes the right call.