The Frenchman has not played since suffering a hamstring tendon injury against former club Chelsea early last month but has recovered in remarkable time and had been targeting a return against Manchester United next weekend, though there is a suggestion that Zouma could be available as soon as Sunday.
West Ham face Leeds for the second time in seven days, having beaten them in the FA Cup third round last weekend, looking to make it five wins on the spin in all competitions as they get back into their stride in the race for Champions League qualification.
After a difficult December – in which David Moyes was without Zouma, Aaron Cresswell and Angelo Ogbonna (who remains out for the season) – threatened to derail West Ham’s top-four tilt, everything seems to be coming back together. Wednesday’s victory over Norwich pushed the east Londoners above Arsenal, back into fourth and well into the mix for the remainder of the season.
Cresswell returned for that win and will soon be joined by Zouma as Moyes’s starting XI starts to look back towards its best.
Michail Antonio, who himself struggled for goals across November and December, is looking back to his old self and has two goals and two assists in his last five games in all competitions.
West Ham’s recent run, though, has been driven largely by Jarrod Bowen’s stellar form. The winger has kicked on this season and is stepping up to carry the attacking group alongside Antonio with Said Benrahma at the Africa Cup of Nations and as others, including Pablo Fornals, go through slower runs of form.
West Ham are back on an upward curve which will only be aided by Zouma’s return, though Moyes is still keen to supercharge that further with additions this month.
The Scot said this week: “If I can get Kurt back quickly, that eases the pressure in central defensive areas, but we’re always looking to strengthen here.”