By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings
David Moyes is excluded from the usual training ground contact and involvement with the team right now because of his own covid isolation, but it’s certain he will be ‘working from home’ like thousands of others, still addressing his day-to-day responsibilities.
While assistant Alan Irvine might be holding the fort, Moyes will undoubtedly be the one calling the shots. Making the decisions on tactics and team selection for the game with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
Surely one of the easier decisions for Moyes will be the inclusion of Sebastien Haller in the starting line-up for the first time in the league this season.
His brace of goals in the 5-1 demolition of Hull City in the Carabao Cup in midweek, plus a similar two goal haul in the previous round against Charlton Athletic, means the big Frenchman has scored almost half the total goals recorded by the club in competitive football this season.
A goal scorer can do no more than hit the back of the net, no matter who the opposition – that’s what he’s in the team to do. Seb has fulfilled his job description when he’s been asked – now it’s time to unleash him on the league. He’s earned his opportunity and deserves a fair crack of the whip!
Haller is still our record signing – and it’s looking increasingly likely the £45m we agreed with Eintracht Frankfurt won’t be eclipsed any time soon. But he continues to divide opinion amongst West Ham fans.
There are those who insist he’s another expensive and unproductive legacy of the Pellegrini era, others who believe he’s been unfortunate in having to play a lone striker cum target man role which doesn’t really suit him, and that he would be far more effective if the team was selected to play to his strengths.
The pre-season defeat of Ipswich Town, in which Haller netted three times, aided by a supply line from Grady Diangana, hinted at a possible productive partnership in the making.
Without going over old ground, that pairing is now dead in the water. But a similar partnership with Jarrod Bowen on the right and Michail Antonio on the left, both getting up alongside Haller when possible, could be just as rewarding. But it needs a chance to build and Sebastien needs to be handed the opportunity to be part of it.
Haller’s signature looked good business when he first arrived. 65 goals in 142 season appearances in German football told its own story. But after a bright start in the Premier League, as the team struggled so did Sebastien.
Post lockdown he didn’t start a single game of Project Restart – maybe not surprising as Moyes found the perfect set-up with Antonio up front on his own – and was reluctant to change a formula that eventually saw us to safety.
But now with Haller hitting the goal trail surely the manager will find it increasingly difficult to justify leaving him out of the equation.