After West Ham United signed Said Benrahma from Brentford, it felt as though Pablo Fornals may struggle to find a place in David Moyes’ team.
The Scotsman’s 5-4-1 formation meant that, if the Algerian does get in ahead of Fornals – which seems likely considering he recorded 26 Championship goal contributions last term – then there would be no obvious space for the Spaniard in the starting lineup.
Facing Tottenham Hotspur presented Fornals with the perfect opportunity to prove to Moyes that he indispensable and should be in the team no matter who comes in.
However, while he celebrated Manuel Lanzini’s equaliser as wildly as any of us, the 24-year-old only put his position in further doubt during the 3-3 draw.
The most obvious reason for this is that his individual performance will be remembered for his header from a couple of yards out flying over the bar.
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While he was fairly neat on the ball, completing 81% of his attempted passes, he struggled to create anything of note, failing to make any key passes before being taken off for Lanzini in the 77th minute. He did complete one of the two dribbles that he attempted.
Fornals is always a hard worker, but that didn’t produce anything for him defensively either, as he didn’t make a single defensive contribution throughout the match.
If anything, Lanzini coming on and stealing a point in the game’s dying embers only puts the Spaniard at risk of sliding even further down the pecking order.
Fornals had to be patient at times last term – starting 24 league games and coming off the bench 12 times – it seems as though he may have another battle for game time on his hands.