If David Moyes insists on starting Tomas Soucek after the World Cup break, he must change his position and deploy him closer to Gianluca Scamacca, writes the HammerNews.
The 27-year-old West Ham midfielder has regressed badly over the past 12-18 months, after having made a sensational start to life at the London Stadium.
Soucek joined the Hammers initially on loan in January 2020, before making a permanent move to the London Stadium five months later for around £19 million (WHUFC.com).
He was an instant hit with West Ham, scoring 10 Premier League goals during his first full season at the London Stadium.
The Czech Republic’s form has fallen off the face of a cliff over the past year or so, however. He is a complete shadow of his former self.
In my opinion though, the main reason for Soucek’s recent demise is the the fact that he has been deployed in a completely different role for West Ham over the past season and a half, in oder to accommodate Declan Rice’s new more advanced role.
The Czech Republic international must be used in a more advanced role for three reasons.
Firstly, Moyes needs to get the best out of Soucek again. The Czech Republic international can be a really potent weapon for us if he is used correctly.
Secondly, the Scot needs to go back to what made West Ham so good in the 2020/21 season and that will involve getting Declan Rice back to what he does best – protecting the back-line.
The 23-year-old proved just how good he is at dictating the tempo of the game from the deep-lying midfield role with England at the World Cup out in Qatar.
And it will be a very good thing for the Hammers if he returns to that role, rather than the box-to-box one that he seems to have adopted when playing for us.
Finally, deploying Soucek in an advanced role will help get the best out of Gianluca Scamacca as well.
The Italian has been completely and utterly isolated up front on his own for West Ham, since he moved to the London Stadium five months ago.
Moyes either needs to get the two wide players closer to the striker, or deploy one or two runners from midfield.
There is nobody better for the latter job than Tomas Soucek. The 27-year-old has energy in abundance and is at his best when arriving into the penalty box late to score his goals – just like he did in the 2020/21 season.
The Czech playing just in behind Scamacca would help get the best out of both him and the Italian.
The ex-Sassuolo ace is incredibly strong when playing with his back to goal. His hold-up play and link-up ability is sensational, but the problem for him is that there has been nobody to feed off of his excellent work.
Having Soucek operating in and around him would provide him with someone who could get on the end of his knock-downs and flick-ons.
The ex-Slavia Prague midfielder’s worst attribute is his passing, so deploying him as a deep-lying midfielder makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. In fact, it holds us back as a team, and has been the main reason why we have struggled so badly over the past year in my opinion.
David Moyes must change the position of Tomas Soucek, in oder to save West Ham’s season. The Scot could then have Declan Rice operate as the #6 and Lucas Paqueta as the #8.