West Ham United manager David Moyes was taken aback by the Football Association's decision to charge playmaker Manuel Lanzini for diving during his side's 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday (16 December) and will consider appealing the FA's independent diving panel's finding ahead of the Carabao Cup clash against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Referee Graham Scott saw fit to award a spot kick when Lanzini took a tumble after coming under pressure from Stoke defender Erik Pieters. The decision was blasted by Potters boss Mark Hughes and subsequently investigated by the FA, who deemed that Lanzini had deceived the referee.
Lanzini has until Tuesday evening to appeal the charge, which if upheld would see the 24-year-old banned for West Ham's Carabao Cup quarter-final against Arsenal as well as the Premier League clash with struggling Newcastle United this weekend. Hammers boss Moyes chose his words carefully when quizzed about the decision, but could not contain his disgruntlement.
"I am going to think about my reaction. I am a bit surprised," Moyes said in his press conference, per Football.London. "The referee was 10 yards from it, nothing blocking his vision, clear to see the defenders goes for the ball and doesn't get it."
"I am the first one who says lets get rid of diving so that's why I am annoyed. I don't think anybody can be definitely sure if it was a dive or not."
Asked if West Ham will appeal the charge against the talented Argentine, Moyes said:
"We're going to think about whether we appeal or not. I think it's strange that three people on Sunday thought it was a penalty and three people today think it probably wasn't."
The likely absence of Lanzini comes as a major blow to Moyes ahead of the trip to face Arsenal. The former Sunderland boss, who is finally seeing the fruits of his labour after enduring a wretched start to his reign at the London Stadium, has had to get by without a host of key stars during his short spell in charge of West Ham. However he hopes to welcome back towering forward Andy Carroll for the clash against Arsenal, who slumped to a 0-0 draw when the two sides last met. Moyes will also hand a start to goalkeeper Joe Hart, who recently lost his place in the starting line-up to Adrian.
"It will be the same sort of squad as at Stoke, we won't be a million miles away from it," Moyes said. "Andy Carroll could return. He's had a bad back but he trained today and we will make a call on him tomorrow.
"Joe Hart will definitely start tomorrow night. He's been very good around the place and he's ready to play.
"We are short on players at the moment but we would have changed one or two. Our priority is to get away from the bottom of the league but nothing would give me more pleasure than reaching a cup final."
Carroll has not played for almost a month since suffering a back injury but his apparent return to fitness is timely for Moyes, who revealed that club-record signing Marko Arnautovic, Mark Noble and Pablo Zabaleta are all nursing injuries after a bruising encounter with Stoke.
"Obviously, there are a few dropping at the moment," Moyes said. Mark Noble has now got an injury, we had Zabaleta with a dead leg from early on in the game, so we are finding ourselves struggling for players.
"Even at the end, Marko Arnautovic had a calf strain so we had to bring him off for Chicharito to go on the right as we ran out of midfield players, even with Declan Rice coming on.
"We're all mucking in, all doing their jobs and they are doing it well and defensively we have kept another clean sheet, which is always good at the wrong end of the table."