David Moyes’ men fell to a narrow 2-1 loss when they made the trip to the Etihad Stadium over the weekend after strikes from Ruben Dias and John Stones cancelled out Michail Antonio’s equaliser.
The Hammers are flying high at this moment in time. After picking up 45 points in their opening 26 games of the campaign, the London Stadium outfit are sitting in fourth position in the top-flight standings, with Champions League football a genuine possibility for next season.
However, Thomas believes they could be in an even healthier position if one of their key players had been available on Saturday.
After being asked by Sam Delaney whether he thought Angelo Ogbonna’s presence would have seen West Ham get something more out of the game, Thomas said: “Yeah, I believe so. I believe if Ogbonna was in that starting XI, then we definitely would have avoided the first goal that Ruben Dias scored. But listen, I’m not gonna be too harsh on [Issa] Diop because I feel like he’s actually done well since coming in as Ogbonna’s replacement.”
TIF Thoughts on Ogbonna…
The 32-year-old has formed a formidable partnership with summer signing Craig Dawson at the heart of the Hammers defence, and Moyes will surely be keen to see the former Juventus man return to full fitness as soon as possible.
Despite Diop’s struggles over the last 18 months or so, the Frenchman has put in some steady displays since coming in to replace Ogbonna, with his performance against City his worst of the season to date – so perhaps Thomas’ theory about the significance of Ogbonna’s absence holds some truth.