Opinion

Antonio can thrive for West Ham in the absence of Yarmolenko

Antonio can thrive for West Ham in the absence of Yarmolenko

West Ham were dealt a hammer blow after summer signing Andriy Yarmolenko was ruled out for six months following an Achilles injury picked up in a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham, leaving manager Manuel Pellegrini with quite the selection dilemma going forward.

After a slow start to life at the London Stadium, the level of Yarmolenko’s performances have picked up significantly in recent weeks with the Ukraine international impressing in games against Everton and Manchester United in particular, and his unavailability will now come as a massive blow to the Hammers.

With Yarmolenko set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Pellegrini could now turn to Michail Antonio, who has still shown his value to the team this season despite losing his place in the starting XI.

The arrivals of Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson had seen £13.5m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Antonio forced to settle for a place on the bench but, the 28-year-old has still managed to make some impactful cameos this term, which bodes well for Pellegrini.

In the club’s recent 1-1 draw with Leicester City at the King Power, Antonio was brought on as a second-half substitute, giving Caglar Soyuncu and the rest of the Foxes’ defence a torrid time up front with his strength and aggressive dribbling.

While Antonio may not possess the same kind of technical ability as Yarmolenko, he can still be a threat on that right-hand side and most of the other positions in attack.

Furthermore, in the absence of Yarmolenko, Antonio is just one player who Pellegrini could possibly look to.

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