Utilising Yara: A New Impact Sub?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 13 July 2020 at 9:11pm
Written by : Graham Keeffe
Having secured a vital three points against Chelsea with an 89th minute winner, and nearly doing so once again against Newcastle, it would appear as though the Hammers have found a new “super sub” in Andriy Yarmolenko. With Sebastien Haller only just returning from injury and Moyes needing to manage the fitness of the scintillatingly in-form Antonio, it’s a perfect time for the Ukrainian to hit form.
Yarmolenko has shown glimpses of his capabilities as a winger-come-forward in the claret and blue but has suffered two horrendous injuries since moving to East London. Subsequent to scoring his first two goals for the club against Everton in September 2018, Yara suffered an excruciating Achilles tear which ruled him out for the remainder of the season. He was further held back during the current campaign with an abductor injury that saw him miss 13 games. Having overcome these adversities and despite losing a yard or two of pace, he appears to have garnered a new role in the squad as an impact sub.
With 12 minutes to go in the game against Chelsea, Yarmolenko was brought on in place of Bowen in an attempt to snatch a desperately needed three points. The ex-Dortmund man did not disappoint. Re-invigorating the attack, Yara linked up well with the midfield to continue to drive West Ham forward in search of a winner. In what can now be considered his trademark, he picked up the ball on his favoured right hand side before cutting back onto his left to nestle the ball into the bottom right corner. A huge contribution to the survival cause.
Just days later against Newcastle, Yarmolenko made his presence felt from off the bench once again. Never afraid to take on a flick or trick, eye-catching link up play from the Ukrainian gave the Geordie defence something different to think about. Despite his stinging effort towards Dubravka’s net in the final minutes of the game, Yarmolenko and West Ham would have to settle for a point this time around.
Based upon these performances, it’s fair to say Yarmolenko has proven that he remains a dangerous and versatile attacking option. With fixtures coming thick and fast, Moyes will need to ensure his game and player management is on point. The Scot will need to be particularly weary of the fact that, despite his outstanding form, Michail Antonio is an injury-prone player and too many games in such a short period could prove detrimental to his fitness. With this in mind and Haller lacking in match sharpness, Yarmolenko may soon become Moyes’ main man off the bench.
After condemning Norwich to relegation on Saturday, West Ham can further distance themselves from the drop zone with a win against fellow strugglers Watford on Friday night. In what could very much be a winner takes all game, the Hammers will need to be defensively resolute to keep out an imposing Troy Deeney and offensively clinical to beat Ben Foster in goal. With high-scoring games becoming the norm since the restart, we can only hope that the Hammers attack continues to fire on all cylinders for the remainder of the season and that the treatment room remains empty. Safety may be within touching distance but as any West Ham fan knows, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”