WHZ View: Said Benrahma running out of time at West Ham
Under-par Said Benrahma is at risk of getting lost in the shuffle at the West Ham – but should get a chance to perform on Saturday.
The Algerian arrived to much hype from supporters in the summer. He joined on an initial season-long loan from Brentford, but the deal was made permanent in the January window. As things stand he is yet to score for the Hammers despite bagging 17 last season.
In comparison, Jesse Lingard has taken the league by storm since his arrival. Nine games, eight goals, three assists and two penalties won. He’s set the standards we need to push for Europe, and Jarrod Bowen has duly followed. It’s just Benrahma who is still struggling to find his feet.
Benrahma has been a big victim of the success of Lingard. In the 10 league games since his arrival, our number nine has started just four times, playing a full 90 once in Lingard’s debut against Villa.
It gets worse, still. Having started both of the first two games with Lingard, Benrahma has played 263 minutes of a possible 720. His longest appearance came against Arsenal, in which he was useful going forward but the failure to track back cost us two goals.
But why hasn’t it clicked for him? Benrahma was producing excellent performances last season for Brentford. As well as his impressive goals tally, he registered six league assists as the Bees pushed for promotion.
Under a year ago, he was performing at ridiculous levels for Brentford. Having scored a brace at Pride Park against Derby, Sky Sports commentator Ian Crocker said: “That is brilliant. That is breathtaking. That is Benrahma.”
The truth is, he was simply more confident then. On average, he took 3.8 shots per 90, and attempted 9.84 dribbles [WyScout]. Benrahma was thriving within a free role on the left-wing, creating chances regularly. This is exactly where Lingard has come in and played.
Under Moyes, he hasn’t quite been allowed the same freedom. Still, he’s provided four league assists, two of which got us winners against Fulham and Aston Villa earlier in the season. On average, he is only taking 1.76 shots and attempting 7.72 dribbles per 90, though.
It’s the lack of defensive work that will concern Moyes, and is probably why he isn’t getting as many minutes. Benrahma could have a chance to right his wrongs this weekend away to Newcastle.
With Mark Noble potentially sidelined, Moyes will have to reshuffle his XI. This could present Benrahma with an opportunity to start against a weakened Newcastle backline. They’re currently without Jamal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden.
There is no doubting that Benrahma is an extremely talented footballer. We’re still hopeful that he can turn his form around and start to score some goals. Imagine where we’d be in the table had he been scoring as freely as Lingard and Bowen.
In other West Ham news, here are three things to look out for when we clash with Newcastle this weekend.