West Ham United play host to Lyon in the UEFA Europa League at the London Stadium tomorrow night.
Hammers manager David Moyes has one big selection dilemma in particular ahead of tomorrow night’s huge clash under the lights.
Ben Johnson missed Sunday’s win over Everton with a slight hamstring injury and is highly unlikely to be fit to face Lyon in the Europa League (Claret and Hugh).
There have been reports to the contrary over the past 12 hours though, so we will have to wait and see what happens with the 22-year-old.
If he does miss out, Ryan Fredericks will be confident of getting the nod to start against the Ligue 1 outfit.
The 29-year-old struggled at times during the first-half against Everton on Sunday, but he improved drastically after half-time and was arguably our best player during the second 45 minutes.
Fredericks has been far from convincing when he has played this season but he made a big statement against Everton on Sunday.
Starting him against Lyon tomorrow night may well be a bridge too far though…
West Ham vs Lyon: David Moyes must make harsh decision
Surely it’s time for Vladimir Coufal to come back into the team.
Dropping Fredericks for the Lyon game will be extremely harsh after his second-half display against Everton but it’s a decision that Moyes needs to be brave enough to make.
The 29-year-old former Fulham man is quite simply not a very good defender. His positional sense is very poor and his decision making leaves a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, his concentration levels just aren’t good enough to be playing regular football at an elite level.
Having watched him on Sunday, you would have seen all of those shortcomings in the first-half. Sure, he addressed that during the second period but against Lyon, we will not be able to afford to have even one player not on their best form.
Vladimir Coufal has plenty of experience playing in the Europa League from his time with Slavia Prague. The Czech international is a sound, solid defender and actually possesses a great final delivery. Those two attributes set him apart from Fredericks.
Fredericks has unbelievable pace and that gets him out of a lot of problematic situations. He won’t be able to rely on that against a team with Lyon’s European nouse, however.
Dropping Fredericks and bringing Coufal in for West Ham vs Lyon will 100% be the right decision if Ben Johnson isn’t fit to start…as harsh as that may be on the former Fulham right-back.