On Tuesday night, Manchester United advanced into the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup through a Scott McTominay goal in extra time, knocking out West Ham for the 4th time in a row of the club's meetings in the competition. The Red Devils sat in cruise control for a large proportion of the game, holding up to 62% of the possession and taking 17 shots toward the Hammers goal, with the Irons posing no real threat to Dean Henderson.
The low number of goals throughout the game came as a shock to many fans for this fixture, with both teams are currently outperforming their expectations in the Premier League. The shock comes as Manchester United recently gained a 9-0 victory over Southampton and Moyes team only failing to score five times in the past 29 games in all competitions.
Throughout the game, West Ham lost three players through injury, with Angelo Ogbonna being the first to come out of the game due to an ankle injury into the 17th minutes stopping a goal threat of Martial. Moyes commented on the loss of the 32-year-old centre back 'He is a player who has been in the team every game for us, he is important to us.' The Issa Diop replaced the injured Ogbonna and was looking to make an impression, only making seven appearances this season with Dawson and Ogbonna being such a strong partnership.
They went onto lose the replacement of Issa Diop also at the end of the first half, after being involved in a head collision with Martial when attacking a corner. Diop was replaced with Moyes not looking to take the risk, with West Ham becoming the first club to use the newly implemented concussion substitution rule.
The Hammers luck proved to be unfortunate losing Yarmolenko through a knee injury despite being used as a replaced for Antonio. The Ukrainian forward got injured whilst crossing the ball in the second half Moyes spoke about the injury of Yarmolenko as opening up his “knee ligaments” and now puts West Ham into a worrying position in terms of their forwards.
With West Ham selling their record signing Sebastian Haller to Ajax in the January transfer window, and the loss of Yarmolenko cannot be a good sign for West Ham as they move further into the season.
The injury should be received as a great concern for the Hammers and especially David Moyes, with Antonio dropped from the FA Cup fixture due to signs of ‘fatigue’ suffered after West Ham have played four games in the last ten days. The results do not seem to be going their way, winning 1 of the previous four games and heavily disappointing expectations.
Moyes commented on the issue of a striker to the West Ham fans during the transfer window, claiming that he wasn’t looking to ‘appease’ the West Ham fans by purchasing a striker that would not have had much effect in his West Ham side.
However, this may have been a good solution for West Ham going into the second half of the season an additional choice would give the Moyes an option and allow the ‘fatigued’ Antonio to rest for the more important games in the season. And with a recent lack of faith shown towards the youngster, Odubeko, it would allow the club to have a backup option.
West Ham have failed to make the most of their recent 4 games, losing to Liverpool side that is currently in a poor run of form, only managing to win two of their last 6 games. West Ham were also disappointing in a 0-0 draw to Fulham, where the home team were by far the better side which came as a shock, despite the Irons previously dominating Aston Villa of the park in their previous fixture.
The poor run of form should come as a concern for the Hammers, as their fantastic run this season could be ended with the upcoming fixtures. David Moyes side set to play Tottenham, Man City, Man United and Leicester in the next eight games; it must have been in their best interest to win the game at Craven Cottage.
And with the number of injuries they have picked up, and their lack of attacking options, the marvellous run could easily see the fans bubbles be burst towards the bitter end of the season. And it wouldn't be the first club that we would already have seen have a rapid fall from their luxurious 6th spot very quickly, just like Southampton and rivals Tottenham have proved easy already.