WHZ View: West Ham star totally isolated on return to starting XI
West Ham earned a third consecutive Premier League win with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Monday and now sit fifth in the table with 10 matches played.
Goals from Angelo Ogbonna and Said Benrahma sealed the win, but they rode their luck a little with Ollie Watkins missing a penalty and having a goal ruled out late on following a very close offside call.
However, the Hammers got over the line and given the tough start to the season they have endured in terms of fixtures, they have earned their lofty perch in the standings.
Ahead of the game, David Moyes made the decision to rush back striker Michail Antonio and put him into the side from the start, dropping Sebastien Haller to the bench.
By half time he was forced to make a change and replace Antonio with Haller and looking back, it was a bizarre choice to take in the first place.
Haller had perhaps his best performance of the season against Sheffield United in the previous match, while Antonio was clearly not match fit. The 30-year-old completed just two passes in his 45 minutes on the pitch and won just three of his seven aerial duels (via WhoScored).
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The Englishman remains a really important player for the Hammers but this was a baptism of fire after a month out of the side.
With Manchester United on the horizon, the temptation to start Antonio for his counter-attacking capabilities will be strong. However, leaving Haller out once again will be harsh on the Ivory Coast international, who impressed off the bench.
In just 45 minutes, the 26-year-old completed two dribbles and won seven aerial duels (via WhoScored). With his side on the back foot, he received very little of the ball, but nonetheless battled hard and helped his team earn the win.
On reflection, Moyes will probably realise he got his selection wrong, but he was not punished. It will be fascinating to see how he goes against United.
In other West Ham news, three players that have taken a step forward this season