Better with Lucas Paqueta as welcome West Ham news is expected this week to give David Moyes a much-needed spark.
Just as West Ham’s record signing Paqueta was starting to find his feet in the team and catch the eye in the Premier League he was struck down with an unusual injury in that 1-1 draw at Southampton.
West Ham have beaten inferior opposition Silkeborg and Bournemouth – just about – without him.
But they have also narrowly lost to Liverpool and Man United with Paqueta missing from the side.
The common theme in those two games was a distinct lack of quality in the final pass, finish or touch that gets goals and decides games.
That in itself tells you everything about how West Ham fans – and indeed Moyes – sees Paqueta; the missing piece.
There were signs his link with Gianluca Scamacca threatens to be potent and exciting.
So it is a real shame that just as West Ham were trying to build some momentum to get themselves in a good position before the World Cup break, Paqueta suffered that collarbone ligament injury.
The Hammers boss and fans believe the Brazil star will be the man to help knit West Ham’s industry and organisation to an end product.
It is certainly needed after another game in which West Ham spurned a host of chances.
It will be better with Paqueta as welcome West Ham news is expected this week to give Moyes a much-needed spark.
Many hoped Moyes was playing mind games when he said Paqueta would not be available for the defeat at Man United.
But alas he was not. The Scot did however say his record signing will be back this week.
West Ham will surely not risk any key first team players for the dead rubber Europa Conference League final group game in Romania against FCSB.
The game may be used to get Nayef Aguerd more vital minutes before he heads off to the World Cup with Morocco. But Paqueta is highly unlikely to join him.
Instead West Ham look almost certain to be boosted by the £51m man’s return to the side for the now huge game against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium on Sunday.
It will lift what has become a rather sombre London Stadium of late amid a lack of excitement and goals.
And it will give the West Ham players a massive lift too. Paqueta will have been training for the best part of two weeks by the time Palace come to town and that is bang on schedule with when the player himself said he would be back playing.
After a hugely frustrating result at Old Trafford, the return of our Brazilian magnifico is something to really look forward to this weekend.
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