The Hammers put on a show to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 that was out of this galaxy. Oh yes, we’re doing player ratings to the theme of Star Wars.
The Empire Strikes Back – 7 Hammers
Much like Gohkan Tore, the Empire probably just gets a bad rap. If they only had one decent PR person, they could probably fix up that image real quick. I mean they had law, order, and the occasional planet blow up. Accidents happen right? You’re trying to run a galaxy and this Scooby Doo band of misfits keep impeding on your progress. Teach those meddling kids a lesson. Following in the footsteps of the Empire, West Ham has struck back at the league.
Manuel Lanzini – I don’t want to say West Ham’s season starts today but I will say this could be turning point for a team that has been struggling. I’m giving my Man of the Match to Lanzini. Sure, the ball from Cresswell was great but the touch to finish it off was spectacular. In addition to scoring what would be the winning goal, Lanzini kept up the pressure and did a great job moving around the pitch.
Winston Reid and Cheikhou Kouyate – The center back pairing was special today, Kouyate in particular. Having playing a central midfield role so far this year, it was nice to see him back in defense where he’s excelled in the past. Both Reid and Kouyate handled Christian Benteke well for most of the match and did an excellent job breaking up play and intercepting the cross.
Return of the Jedi – 6 Hammers
The Jedi were all but forgotten; now just a fairy tale moisture farmers would tell their children as they laid in their sand-beds. Really though, wizards with glow sticks running around fighting for the fate of… well, everyone? Give me a bre… what’s that? Luke Skywalker has been secretly learning the ways of the Force with the one of the greatest Jedi Masters of all time?! The Jedi are back and they’re here to save our season!
Aaron Cresswell – Return of the Cresswell! Sure, two yellow cards within 51 seconds isn’t the best way to cap a match but that cross was spectacular. Yes, we all know that last foul was bogus and I’m sure the linesman is going to feel silly about that when he gets home. That was not the foul he was looking for...
The Force Awakens – 5 Hammers
There has been an awakening… have you felt it? Desert planet? Check. Insufferable loner who dreams of doing great things? Check. Cheeky droid? Check. It’s just like the original, only a bit better. Kind of like these next two players.
Adrián – We know how Adrián can be – we’ve seen it. We’ve felt it. But where has it been lately? Who cares, it’s back! Beautiful save at the end of the match to let Hammers keep all three points. There was talk of giving Randolph a chance at goal but Adrián proved his worth. Oddly enough, Randolph wasn’t even on the bench for today.
Pedro Obiang – Something awakened in Obiang today. He had an outstanding game in the midfield. He’s been solid this year so far but today everything was clicking for him.
Simone Zaza – I don’t think Zaza stopped running the whole time. He had a few chances that didn’t come to fruition but the effort was there. Between Lanzini and Payet – a cross or a pass will eventually find Zaza and he will put it in the back of the net. This kind of play is exactly what West Ham supporters have been waiting for.
A New Hope - 4 Hammers
When all seems lost and hopeless with the big London clubs getting all the points and headlines, there is one who is prophesized to bring balance to the Premier League. However, like all prophecies before us, there is confusion as to who the chosen one is. In this case – there can only be one.
Dimitri Payet – Payet drew in the defenders to set up the out pass to Aaron Cresswell, who whipped it into the box for the Lanzini goal. It was nice to see a match where Payet didn’t feel he had to take the opposition on by himself. Maybe it was the two international appearance for France but Payet seemed to get tired in the second half.
Revenge of the Sith - 3 Hammers
The best of the worst! The transition of Anakin to Vader was as bland and as deep as Hayden Christensen’s acting chops. At least the lightsaber battle between Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker was epic. Hayden’s bland acting and George’s writing destroys what could have been one of the best Star Wars movies ever. Speaking of bland…
Mark Noble – An early tackle earned Noble a yellow card and he spent the remainder of the match playing with care. Not much of a factor but played okay next to Pedro Obiang. Tough to look good next to a man like Pedro who was on top of his game. This was not a good performance from Noble. Look for him to step it up away at Sunderland.
Michail Antonio – Bilic put Antonio back at RB. Questionable move or calculate risk? Michail had a few runs and he tracked back nicely. It was refreshing to see a match where Antonio didn’t feel he had to do it all himself. Much like Noble, however, not his best or worst game of the season.
The Phantom Menace - 2 Hammers
The Star Wars movie we all told ourselves we loved because it’s what we needed after a 15-year drought. Baby Anakin was unbearable, Jar Jar Binks was even worse, and they killed off potentially the most interesting character of the new series before we ever got to know him. Poorly transitioned, clumsy, and never seemed self-aware. Wait, am I talking about Ogbonna?
Angelo Ogbonna – Clumsy decision – definitely a penalty. I heard some people say he didn’t see Benteke in his peripheral but I don’t buy it. If anyone but Benteke steps up in the box we’re looking at a draw.
Attack of the Clones - 1 Hammer
No, just no. I don’t think I need to say anymore. No Hammers were in this category... thank the Force.
Christian Benteke – I get it was raining but wow!