Friday, 5 August 2016

Perfect Start to New Life at OS for Hammers but how did they rate individually?

Life at the Olympic Stadium began with an emphatic win as West Ham dominated Slovenian rivals NK Domzale, overturning the 2-1 deficit from the first leg to run out 3-0 victors. The reward will be a tie versus Romanian side Astra Giurgiu who defeated the Hammers in last year's Europa exit. One senses that Slaven Bilic will be looking to avenge that defeat with a strong side when the tems meet on the 18th (a) and 25th (h) of August.

But how did our heroes perform individually?

Darren Randolph: Dazza is a top quality keeper and we are lucky to have him as back up to Adrian. A quiet night but he was called into action in the second half as Domzale tried to get back into the tie. His concentration was good and he made the one excellent save that was needed. Good distribution from the back as well. 8/10.

Sam Byram: Sam played really well despite being on his less favoured flank. He also contributed to the attacking efforts of the team with plenty of overlapping runs. One foolish mistimed challenge in the second half reminded us that he isn't the finished product just yet but is certainly progressing well. 8/10.

Michail Antonio: A better organised defence last night meant that his lack of defensive positional sense was not exposed as in the first leg. One mistimed tackle reminded us that he is naturally an attacker. Michail was unphased by the difficulties of the previous match and just got on with it, pushing forward regularly without any fear. He seemed to connect well with Reece Oxford as the right-sided CB as well. Still wasted though at RB! 8/10.

Winston Reid: Cool and committed, Winston is our best defender by an amount. He linked in brilliantly with young Oxford while also supporting Byram out wide. Top class player. 9/10.

Reece Oxford: He really does look like the new Rio! Calm, intelligent and fearless - should he start against Chelsea? We think yes!!! Made some excellent tackles when needed and looked entirely unphased by events. 10/10.

Havard Nordtveit: Looked much more comfortable as the defensive midfielder than he did at CB last week. A decent physical presence he looks well suited for the Premiership. No nonsense tackling and unfussy but distribution. he'll be pleased with his contribution. 8/10.

Mark Noble: Captain Claret fluffed his first few touches at his new home but naturally kicked into gear and kept the intensity of our game at a high level throughout with his high octane contributions. 8/10.

Cheik Kouyate: Looked a bit off form last week but was back to his best with his energetic running and, of course, two decent goals. Kouyate likes playing anywhere in midfield and last night emphasized his ability to be the more forward element of the midfield. All smiles, as always! 10/10.

Enner Valencia: Made the first goal and looked lively throughout. However, he missed a few decent opportunities and in fairness it seems that things have just never quite kicked on for him at West Ham. Maybe its time for a switch? 7/10.

Sofiane Feghouli: You sense that we have picked up another diamond here. Lively, nice touch and an eye for goal as emphasised by his finish for the third goal. We simply cannot wait to see him alongside Payet and Lanzini. 9/10.

Andy Carroll: No goals but he put in a very decent shift. Andy looks like he has gained a yard or two in pace as well! We were once again reminded just how big his contribution to the team effort is with his targeted physicality. Ten goals a season along with the chaos (and space) he creates is enough. 8/10.



  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your article David and agree wholeheartedly with your comments about individual players. Winny Reid is our best central defender by a fair margin. We must sort the FB positions asap so Antonio can move further up the pitch. Sofiane Ferghouli brings flair, pace and creativity down the flank and he can obviously score goals. What a strike to ice the game & announce yourself to the West Ham faithful:) Valencia may be worth keeping for another year if he can get his head right, he is still young in football terms and his best is still in front of him. Besides if we qualify for Europa we'll need the depth. I must admit I think your a bit harsh on AC though. It's taken him a long time to grow into his body, which is not uncommon for big athletes. I reckon he's finally grown comfortable into his body, he understands its capabilities and limits and will adjust his game accordingly. The poor bugger did bugger all pre season last year and then was brought back unfit etc etc. But the way he finished the season, wow!! I said back in March that I'd just like to see him finish the season healthy with no off season surgeries and thus give himself the best chance to complete a pre season for once. If he can do that, which he has so far, then we shall see the best of big Andy in 16/17. Again people forget he too is still a young man in terms of his football. And if you look at the list David you'll see many more rough diamonds that we have managed to unearth. Blue collar footballers like Noble, Cheik, Antonio, Reid, Feghouli etc etc and of course Payet is the jewel in the crown. Slav & the board are taking West Ham to our rightful place as a football power in European & World football folklore. I'm sure looking forward to the ride eh. Cheers David. WHTID!!!

  2. Thanks - I didn't rate the three subs as coming on so late they really didn't get a look in. I think Slav could be a little more adventurous with giving the kids a run out for 15 minutes at the end. I really don't think we were ever in danger at any point last night and it would boost their confidences no end. That said MOTM probably young Oxford :-)


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