Opinion: David Moyes may actually need to start using one West Ham player as a substitute more often
The goal that left Ukraine and West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko in tears was coined a ‘goal for West Ham and Ukraine’ by the stadium announcer in West Ham’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
To the mind of David Moyes however, it was the re-emergence of a force he possibly thought extinguished.
Yarmolenko presents himself at just the right moment for moyes
Moyes had previously shown a preference for one of Said Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic off the bench this season, amid talks of a possible exit for Yarmolenko. This weekend, however, may have changed the Scotsman’s mind about any potential move.
Jarrod Bowen was injured a week before against Liverpool and Michail Antonio limped off early in the second half. This meant both Vlasic and Benrahma were already on the pitch leaving Moyes with only Yarmolenko to turn to. This time, however, Moyes’ faith was rewarded as Yarmolenko scored the crucial goal to break the deadlock.
In a week of personal struggle for Yarmolenko, said to have been filled with ‘hours’ on the phone to his family in war-torn Ukraine, he showed why he can still be relied upon in clutch moments.
Yarmolenko has killer instinct, Moyes must use it
While he never quite hit the heights he seemed destined for when he burst onto the scene for Ukraine in Euro 2016, Yarmolenko still has a wand of a left foot and an uncanny ability to find the net from situations even the likes of Mo Salah may find perplexing.
He loves big games too. If you cast your mind back to 2020, when the stadiums were empty and David Moyes’ east end revolution was in its infancy, West Ham were fighting a desperate battle to stay in the Premier League.
With time running out, Yarmolenko scored the all-important 89th minute winner to secure West Ham a 3-2 win the Independent called ‘one of the biggest of the entire campaign’.
A certain belief is needed in one’s self to be able to come on late and make the kind of impact he did in 2020 as well as the game last weekend against Villa. Yarmolenko has it.
That resilient mindset is rare and may have been forged while dealing with an unfortunate stem of injures
Jamie Redknapp claimed those same injuries “prevented him from showing us his quality” in the Daily Mail after Yarmolenko put in a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United in 2019.
With a huge game against Sevilla on Thursday night as well as trip to top 6 and local rivals Tottenham on Sunday, Moyes’ use of substitutes will be critical.
With the goals starting to dry up and injuries starting to mount up, Yarmolenko’s killer instinct and his ability under pressure are tools David Moyes cannot afford to ignore if his main men aren’t scoring.
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