David Moyes is spot on to rest Michail Antonio against Rapid Vienna
West Ham manager David Moyes has made the right decision by leaving Michail Antonio out of the squad for their Europa League fixture against Rapid Vienna this evening.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Scot confirmed that the forward would be rested and has not travelled to Austria.
“Mic [Michail] Antonio is not here, we chose not to bring him,” Moyes said [via Football.London].
“We have a busy week coming up with three Premier League fixtures so we want to give Antonio every chance of being ready for it.”
The Hammers have already qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League – albeit not yet as group winners – so there is less riding on tonight’s result.
Besides, the team have not fared too badly in Antonio’s absence in previous European games this season.
The forward was left out of the squad for the 3-0 win over Genk in which makeshift striker Jarrod Bowen got on the scoresheet, while both of West Ham’s goals in the 2-2 draw against the Belgian outfit came after Antonio had been substituted.
Andriy Yarmolenko is expected to be given the opportunity to start upfront this evening, which could put him in the shop window as the Hammers look to sell the Ukrainian in January.
It is well-documented that the squad lacks depth in the central striker position behind Antonio, so giving him a rest ahead of a run of 10 matches in the next month is vital.
After a recurring hamstring injury kept Antonio out for periods of last season, there is a concern that the same issue could arise again.
The 31-year-old has played 90 minutes in 10 out of 12 of West Ham’s Premier League matches this season and also featured twice for Jamaica in the international break earlier this month.
In other West Ham news, Moyes has revealed his Europa League ambition ahead of this evening’s game against Rapid Vienna.