As if being sent off for a 2nd bookable offence in the closing stages of the game against Southampton wasn't bad enough, many fans were extremely concerned to see Michail Antonio in obvious distress following some 'dark arts' defending by the Saints back line prior to his sending off.
Hammers only recognised striker was clearly in some form of distress as a result of a less than gentle elbow in the lower back region, contact that saw Antonio clutching at what at first seemed like his dreaded hamstrings. However following tests, Big Mikey has been given the all clear to play in the Europa cup tie away to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.
Had Antonio not been sent off against Southampton, there is every likelihood that he would not have played against Zagreb in order to keep him fit for the game against Manchester United this coming Sunday. Nikola Vlasic would probably have been used as a false No 9 against Zagreb, but given Antonio's unavailability for the weekend fixture David Moyes may well decide to 'save' Vlasic for then, instead utilising Antonio's power and pace in what will be a very tricky fixture, against the hardest of all Hammers group opponents.
Saturday's lack lustre performance clearly illustrated how players are affected by International fixtures, hopefully Moyes and his coaching staff will manage the players better than their International colleagues have done in the past. Whichever way you look at it, many West Ham players face a gruelling schedule of games over the next couple of months, injuries and more topically suspensions, will play a major part in how well the club can progress in multiple competitions. -Ed