Most West Ham United fans were shocked to see Michail Antonio replace Sebastien Haller in the starting line-up for the win over Aston Villa.
West Ham boss David Moyes is not known for tinkering with his team or taking too many risks.
And Haller had scored the winner in the game before against Sheffield United.
Moyes caused a stir with big decision to drop Haller for rusty Antonio
Throw into the mix the fact Antonio has been missing for over five weeks and it easy to see why even the most outspoken Haller doubters were taken by surprise to see the £45million striker dropped.
Moyes was criticised for the move by many fans.
Particularly when Antonio put in an ineffective display where he looked rusty and was substituted at half-time.
But is this the real reason Moyes elected to start Antonio over Haller and will it mean he is forced to again against Man United this weekend?
The real reason Moyes made the call and will it mean he is forced to make it again vs Man United?
Moyes may not say it publicly but he simply cannot risk bringing Antonio ON as a substitute for Haller in case he re-injures himself – a high possibility given his troublesome hamstrings.
Whereas he has Haller in reserve if that happens with Antonio as a starter.
It’s not a great situation for Haller. And it does say a lot about the clear pecking order under Moyes.
But wherever you stand on the decision, it is sensible management from Moyes.
Sensible management from Moyes but issue proves Hammers need a new striker option
It would be a disaster to start Haller and sub him off for Antonio only to then see the latter get injured with no other forwards in the squad to make a further change.
Many believe Haller will be reintroduced from the start up front for West Ham’s clash against Man United.
But it seems highly unlikely given the above.
And it will be a big factor pushing Moyes to sign another forward in the January transfer window.
Speaking of strikers West Ham have been boosted ahead of the game against the Red Devils. In-form Edinson Cavani is set to be banned and miss the match (The Sun).
West Ham can go third with a win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. West Ham vs Man United is the 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday as fans return at the London Stadium.