Andre Ayew should start against Cheltenham Town in the Carabao Cup second round ad the LCI Rail Stadium this evening for one simple reason – he needs to find some form.
West Ham’s former record-signing has started the opening two Premier League games of the season but barely had a say in proceedings at al over the two games and was subbed off after 68 minutes against Southampton despite the Hammers being 2-1 down.
Ayew’s start of his Hammers career following his £20.1m move from Swansea to east London was wrecked by an opening game thigh injury picked up against Chelsea and he has not hit the heights since.
He scored six goals last season so he knows where the net is but at the moment, he just doesn’t look like finding it.
In the opening two games of this season, Ayew has been running down blind alleys, losing the ball, barely had a sniff of the ball and his touch has been pretty ordinary.
It was the same in pre-season – yes, we know it’s just that and can’t be read too much in to – but you could see the anger he unleashed when he smashed home that goal against Altona in Hamburg.
Ayew has been played on the right wing for the majority of his West Ham career and it hasn’t really paid off. He got to play in his favoured position of number 10 on the south coast and did very little indeed. With Manuel Lanzini on the verge of a return, his time there could be numbered.
He needs to play in the unfamiliar surrounding of the LCI Rail Stadium, on probably a bit of a ropey pitch, fans breathing down his neck against a side that will be out to ruin his and West Ham’s day. It may seem cliché, but it could be the making of the player in a West Ham shirt. Play him as a number ten, hopefully get a goal or two, the confidence the Ghanaian is lacking will come flowing back.
Ayew has been fortunate that injuries to Michail Antonio, plus the lack of form of Robert Snodgrass and last season, Sofiane Feghouli, has meant he had an extended run in the team. Now, Marko Arnautovic and his three-game ban means the Ghanaian has another chance to find that form.
If he doesn’t, when Arnautovic is back and Antonio is back up to speed, plus Lanzini back in the side and the emergence of Sead Haksabanovic, Ayew might have to get used to sitting on Slaven Bilic’s bench and at the cost of £20.1m, that’s an expensive seat for West Ham to have paid out on.