Michail Antonio picking up big-money signings’ slack as West Ham target safety with Manchester United upset

·2-min read
Michail Antonio has been a big asset to West Ham’s survival push  (Getty Images)
Michail Antonio has been a big asset to West Ham’s survival push (Getty Images)

West Ham have spent more than £40million on new strikers this season, but Michail Antonio remains their biggest hope of scoring the goals to propel them to safety.

Danny Ings was ineffective off the bench in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City and has scored just twice in the Premier League since joining for £12m in January.

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David Moyes hoped Ings would fire West Ham away from relegation danger, but he has struggled; much like £30.5m summer signing Gianluca Scamacca, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

But Antonio has scored four goals in his last five games and, after struggling in front of goal for long periods this season, hopes he is coming into form at just the right time.

West Ham host Manchester United at the London Stadium on Sunday and know a win would probably secure survival, allowing them to focus on their Europa Conference League semi-final with AZ Alkmaar.

“I cannot say that I have been on fire this season, because I have only just started playing well now,” said Jamaica international Antonio this week on his podcast.

“But I put that more down to the situation we are in. Because of the situation we are in, someone needs to pick the team up. We need to dig deep and we need to start performing.”

After a sickness bug hit the West Ham squad ahead of their midweek defeat at the Etihad, West Ham should be back to near full-strength on Sunday. Captain Declan Rice, Nayef Aguerd and Tomas Soucek all missed the City game due to illness, but are set to return.

West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell said: “I’m sure they’ll be back by Sunday and be raring to go. Every game from now is massive. It’s Manchester United in the late game on a Sunday night. The crowd will be up for it and we want to get the three points.”

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