Something David Moyes did in Zagreb last night surprised some West Ham United fans and suggests a major change could be in the offing.
West Ham kicked off their Europa League campaign in style with a brilliant 2-0 win over Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb.
Goals from Michail Antonio and Declan Rice sealed a perfect, professional performance.
West Ham fans had been debating whether to go strong with team selection or field a much-changed side with one eye on Sunday’s Premier League game against Manchester United.
Moyes masterclass with West Ham team selection but there was one big surprise
Moyes managed to make five changes but still maintain a strong line-up for the match, which saw West Ham top group H after the opening game.
There were two full debuts as new signings Nikola Vlasic and Kurt Zouma started the game.
But one new boy fans were convinced would make his debut – Alphonse Areola – was made to wait.
Areola joined West Ham on loan from Paris Saint-Germain with an £11 million option to buy.
Does Fabianski selection in Zagreb suggest major change in Prem number one is in the offing?
He is expected to be West Ham’s long-term successor to the ageing Lukasz Fabianski.
It was anticipated that Moyes would use Areola in European and cup matches and stick with Fabianski for Premier League games.
So when Fabianski – who many fans feel has looked a touch slow and immobile in getting down and across his goal both at the end of last season and start of this – was named in goal for the game in Zagreb it raised eyebrows.
And it surely suggests a massive change is in the offing at West Ham, potentially starting with Manchester United on Sunday in that Areola could be set to take over as the club’s number one choice for Premier League games.
Goalkeeper for Man United clash will make it clear how Moyes intends to share number one spot between Areola and Fabianski
If Areola and Fabianski are going to share the load in West Ham’s jam-packed schedule this season then it would make sense for Moyes to use the Frenchman for league games and Fabianski in Europe and the cups.
But the Scot may view the battle for the number one jersey as just that – one standout number one who plays in the Prem and Europa with the other filling in for domestic cup matches.
We will find out on Sunday when Man United come to the London Stadium.
It would be a baptism of fire for Areola. But at 28-years-old and with PSG, Real Madrid and a brilliant individual season at Fulham on his CV it would not be a big risk.