While many fans bemoaned the club’s failure to buy a striker in the summer transfer window, Michail Antonio was preparing himself for a huge season of responsibility as the club’s only available striker.
The Jamaica international has transformed himself into one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League over the last two years under David Moyes.
Since the Scot returned the London Stadium dugout in December 2019, Antonio has registered 34 goal involvements – 24 goals, 10 assists – in just 47 Premier League appearances. That is some return for a player who has spent much of his career playing as a winger and a right-back.
So it’s no surprise that he’s now one of the most important players at West Ham, not to mention a record-breaker, after his recent goalscoring form fired him to towards becoming the club’s all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, overtaking Paolo Di Canio with a brace in August’s 4-1 home win over Leicester City.
As West Ham prepare for their trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday, all eyes will have been on the fitness of Antonio, who we all know has a history of picking up niggles and injuries that keep him sidelined for weeks on end.
But having opted out of representing Jamaica during the international break due to logistical reasons, Antonio has had two weeks to rest, focus on his fitness and prepare himself for what is a very important run of fixtures for West Ham.
After Everton, the Hammers face the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, Man City, Genk and Aston Villa in three different competitions, with four other fixtures still to play before November.
So Antonio’s availability is going to be crucial if the Hammers are to put together a good run of form in those fixtures and beyond, and the striker looks in good spirits and raring to go judging by pictures of him in training posted on the club’s official Twitter account…