The position of the Czech representatives in West Ham United is changing dramatically in the current season of the Premier League. Vladimír Coufal has already lost his previously self-evident certainty in the starting line-up, and although Tomáš Souček remains an indispensable man for David Moyes, the Hammers fans are increasingly criticizing him.
It is no different after the Hammers’ draw at Southampton on Sunday, which was secured by captain Declan Rice with an equalizing goal in the second half.
While the Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is singled out as West Ham’s best player, who played the guests at St. Mary’s Stadium saved several times, Coufal and Souček are among the worst rated members of Moyes’ selection.
Worse reviews from the islands are perhaps only for the performance of the left wingback, the Italian Emerson Palmieri.
“Coufal returned to the lineup because Moyes didn’t have many options defensively, but he gave another performance that showed why he has lost his footing recently,” writes London’s Evening Standard about the 30-year-old right-back.
“He’s a hard worker, but too many attacks go down the drain because of his poor technique. He’s involved in the game a lot but has little impact as he often lacks quality,” agrees the club’s Claret and Hugh blog.
According to his analysis, Coufala is much more suited to a four-back system. Coufal, on the other hand, is looking for a slightly more offensive position in the five-back system, which West Ham practiced for two-thirds of the match on Sunday.
Souček did not escape criticism either, especially when he made a significant mistake on the conceded goal. His unsuccessful kick-off went to the feet of Romain Perraud, who was not stopped by Jarrod Bowen even due to the awkward position of the referee, and the spot-kick ended up behind Fabianski.
“He contributed to the goal with an unsuccessful kick-off, he tried to be an attacking threat, but he did not help the team much with the poor quality of the passes,” the Evening Standard summarizes the introduction of the captain of the Czech national team.
Football.London magazine supports Součka. It is said that Bowen’s bad foresight was more to blame for the conceded goal.
“Soucek had a few good fights and tried to support the attack. His performance was okay. Nothing exceptional, but also nothing terrible,” the website ranks the midfielder as average.
However, the Hammers News server goes the farthest in criticizing Czech footballers. He published an article in which he selected two footballers whom Moyes should immediately put on the substitutes’ bench – precisely Součka and Coufal.
“They were incredibly weak. Terrible. And it wasn’t the first time in the season,” the website writes. According to Hammers News, Coufal was unconvincing at the back and did absolutely nothing offensively. “He is a shadow of the player he was in previous seasons. And the same applies to his compatriot,” Hammers News criticizes.
According to the server, Souček significantly slows down the game of the Hammers.
“His style is cumbersome, elaborate. He never takes the ball into motion, his first touch with the ball is always directed towards the player who passed to him,” the website analyzes and mentions Souček’s passing statistics.
In the match against Southampton, the ex-Slavic recorded a success rate of almost 64 percent.
“The fact that the club did not give the Czechs a new contract is great. One swallow does not make a spring. They should not be in the starting line-up at the moment. If we are to have a chance at Liverpool, Moyes must leave them out,” Hammers News advises the Scottish manager before Wednesday’s clash at Anfield.
If Coufal has to contend with much stronger competition after the summer transfer window and the arrival of the German defensive all-rounder Thilo Kehrer, Moyes has so far lacked alternative options for Souček.
But even this certainty has been weakening in recent weeks. Twenty-three-year-old Englishman Flynn Downes got his first chance on the European stage and he shone.
He was named man of the match in two consecutive European Conference League races. Fans are already comparing him to their idol, Declan Rice, and are calling on Moyes to give him a chance at the expense of Soucek on the English league stage as well.