West Ham United star Said Benrahma is in danger of becoming David Moyes’s new Wilfried Zaha and that’s not a good thing.
Zaha was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Moyes’s arrival at Manchester United.
But it turned out to be a gift Moyes didn’t particularly want.
Zaha barely got a kick under the Scot and eventually ended up moving back to Crystal Palace.
Benrahma in danger of becoming Moyes’s new Zaha
Speculation has been rife that Benrahma was not a Moyes signing at West Ham. Suggestions were that he was signed by co-owner David Sullivan while Moyes wanted Ebere Eze.
Moyes has admitted Eze was a target. But he has also denied Benrahma was not his signing. Actions speak louder than words, though. And Benrahma has struggled for game time at West Ham, despite showing signs he was settling in to life in the Premier League.
It has been a slow burn for Benrahma at West Ham.
He is very much a bit-part player in the wake of Jesse Lingard’s arrival. But the pair can and should play in the same side and the Algerian simply has to start against Leeds United tonight.
How bit-part Benrahma was key to win at Elland Road
Benrahma was absolutely key to West Ham’s 2-1 win over Leeds in the reverse fixture at Elland Road.
West Ham should have battered Leeds by a more comfortable scoreline that day.
And it was all made possible by the playmaker’s ability to play on the turn, his skill on the ball and his tight control.
Sitting in front of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, Benrahma was being fed the ball and beating Leeds’ famous high-energy press.
Once he had done that, it opened up the whole pitch for West Ham to get at Leeds’s defence.
Said must start alongside Lingard and Fornals
Now West Ham have Lingard, so they will be capable of doing even more damage.
West Ham will not need to play wingbacks to face Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
So Benrahma must start in place of Ben Johnson.
The prospect of beating the Leeds press and seeing Benrahma, Lingard and Michail Antonio flying forward will bring back pleasant memories of West Ham’s superb 3-1 win over Aston Villa last month.
Moyes can bring Benrahma in for Johnson and push Pablo Fornals – who was excellent against City – out to the left.
That way Benrahma can pick up the same central positions he did at Elland Road in a floating role.
Once he beats his man he will have the freedom of the London Stadium pitch to do some damage.
It will no doubt be another exciting game.
And given results elsewhere this week, one West Ham must look to win to keep up on their quest for Europe.
A victory for the Hammers will elevate them to fifth regardless of the result in the Chelsea vs Everton game.