West Ham manager David Moyes has revealed that Lucas Paqueta is “only a week or two away” from making his comeback from a calf problem.
The Brazilian international has not been seen in action since picking up the injury in the first half of the 2-0 win over Arsenal in December, but Moyes has now suggested that he could return to face the same opponents in the reverse fixture:
“You know we’re hoping that Paqueta is only a week or two away so you might not be talking about it (the team’s imbalance) in two weeks’ time, you might be talking ‘we’ve got Paqueta back and things look a lot better’ and we’ve got a lot more selection choices.”
It remains to be seen whether Paqueta will actually be available on Sunday. The estimate given on the midfielder’s return date was the end of February, as it was thought that his injury would take at least two months to recover from.
Moyes may simply be saying that the midfielder will be training within a week or so but it may take a bit longer for him to get back up to match fitness.
West Ham have been poor without Paqueta
As Moyes mentions, the Hammers have been struggling to find a balance in midfield in the absence of the 26-year-old.
Results have been very disappointing without Paqueta, with Moyes’s side failing to win any of their last four Premier League matches, as well as losing to Bristol City after a replay in the third round of the FA Cup.
If Paqueta does miss the Arsenal game, when could he return to action?
There is a possibility that the midfielder will be back on the bench against Nottingham Forest on Saturday week if his recovery goes to plan.
In terms of returning to the starting lineup, the game against Brentford at the London Stadium on February 26th is probably the most likely.