David Moyes knows how to get West Ham firing after transfer window Hail Mary
There were few positives for David Moyes to take from Sunday's defeat by Tottenham — and certainly none to be found in the final third, where West Ham managed only one shot on target and seldom looked a threat.
With just 19 in 23 Premier League matches now, a lack of goals remains by some way the Hammers' biggest problem — quite something, given they can hardly buy a clean sheet either — but Moyes retains hope that the solution lies within his squad.
The sight of both Gianluca Scamacca and Danny Ings warming up on the touchline at Spurs must have been something of a novelty for the Scot, who has been lucky to have one centre-forward on the bench, never mind two.
Perhaps the unfamiliarity of the situation told, because after Emerson Royal's opener, Moyes was too slow to turn to Ings, not sending the former Aston Villa man on until 72 minutes in, seconds before Heung-min Son's clincher.
With Scamacca only just back from injury and the game by then gone, the Italian, more sensibly, was not risked.
The question ahead of Saturday's must-win game against Nottingham Forest is not whether one of that pair should start, but which? Michail Antonio has spoken publicly of his frustration at a reduced role this season and of the possibility of an exit last month, but can have no complaints now if dropped, having made five successive League starts without scoring.
Scamacca was the club's big striking punt when signed in a £30.5million deal from Sassuolo last summer, and the 24-year-old's potential is clear. But, with his position under immediate scrutiny once more, his manager has no time to wait for it to be realised — and three goals in 16 League games does not breed confidence in a pay-off were Moyes to go against his usually cautious instincts by rushing a player back. And so, more than a month after his arrival ahead of a similarly vital clash with Everton, Ings must surely be handed a first start.
The 30-year-old's seven League goals for Villa this term would make him comfortably West Ham's top scorer had they come in a different configuration of claret and blue, and as a proven performer in the division, the England international looks better suited to shouldering the burden than Scamacca.
Sent for in a £12m January transfer window Hail Mary and tasked with scoring the goals to fire the Hammers clear of the drop, Ings must now be given the chance to try.