It might take a world of wizardry and magic to get the Hammers playing as a unit these days. The injury train to Hogwarts is full of iron and there’s no telling when the relief is coming. If only Slaven Bilic had Hermione’s time turner he might go back in time and do things differently. Unfortunately, in this timeline, Buckbeak gets the axe and Andy Carroll is still Andy Carroll. Many people aren’t aware of the Harry Potter link to West Ham United. In the series, and it was more pronounced in the books, Dean Thomas was a massive West Ham United fan and hung the crest from his bed. Fun fact; in the Danish version they change the team to Liverpool. Nobody knows why.
We break down this week’s player ratings to the theme of my favorite Harry Potter characters.
FIVE HAMMERS – Severus Snape
WHO IS CHOPPING ONIONS?!
One could argue Severus Snape was the most important character in the series. He exemplified the type of love that JK Rowling so desperately wants to instill in her readers. A lifetime of servitude towards a man he despised only to make the ultimate sacrifice just for the woman he loved. Speaking of sacrifice – anyone on West Ham feel any sense of honor wearing the Hammer crest? A few did, most didn’t.
Cheikhou Kouyate: This is starting to be a trend. Week to week the Senegal international is stepping it up and solidifying himself in the back three ever since Bilic repositioned him as a defensive back.
Angelo Ogbonna: I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we at BTH have been really hard on Ogbonna over the past few weeks, justifiably so. However, this week Ogbonna decided to play defense and not ball watch as he did in prior matches. Credit Ogbonna for negating Wilfred Bony.
FOUR HAMMERS – Fred & George Weasley
Just keeping the theme of a cry fest – I chose Fred & George. Possibly the best film duo since Rocky & Apollo Creed, Han Solo & Chewbacca, or Turner & Hooch. Throughout all our hard years attending Hogwarts it was nice to have the twins around to always diffuse some tension. The second saddest moment in the series was reading, and then seeing, George stand over his brother Fred’s lifeless body.
Dimitri Payet: Having Payet on West Ham is like being the ugly kid in school with the attractive partner everyone wonders how you’ve managed to get. We all keep speculating when he’s going to leave this unbalanced relationship. Well, when speaking to French television he said, “We’ve had a very poor start. Leave in January? I’m asking other questions right now but I’ve closed the door to nothing.” Woof! If that doesn’t make you run to your best friend in tears, I don’t know what will.
Michail Antonio: If Payet is your undeserved partner than Antonio is your mate who is getting tired of picking your sorry butt up at 3am from the pub. Uber it, man. Payet fed Antonio for a nice strike that was deflected into the goal. The Premier League stepped in to deflate Hammer fans even further and let us know it was really an own goal by Glenn Whelan. Thanks Premier League.
THREE HAMMERS – Neville Longbottom
The boy who almost was. While it is true that the chosen one could have just as easily been Neville, we’re all a bit glad it wasn’t. Neville didn’t find his courage (or the sword of Gryffindor) until the very end and that would have made for some pretty anti-climactic endings. I always found Neville’s proclivity for herbalism to be endearing. After hearing how his parents died to the Cruciatis curse fighting Lord Voldemort, you can’t help but root for the boy to come of age. You know who might come of age soon? Edimilson Fernandes. Any day now!
James Collins: Ok I get it. You haven’t started in a match for a while. Probably not easy to just slide right into a defensive three and lead the line. Collins did it well, very well actually. Except for that teeny, tiny, moment when Bojan got in to win the game.
Aaron Cresswell: Once again it was nice to see Cresswell back in action. I know some of my fellow BTH’ers think the man can do no wrong but I thought he was just average this match. As of today he has been called up to make his debut for the English national team so let’s hope that translates to a boost in morale.
Mark Noble: Another bland performance from Noble. This is his 2nd bleh week in a row and I must think the mood of the team is weighing on him. He’s the heart and soul of the midfield; he just needs to show it.
Pedro Obiang: I saved Obiang for last because he does a lot of things that doesn’t translate to a good showing. Obiang broke up a lot of play defensively but his passing was poor and he lost the ball in a few key places on the pitch. However, unlike the rest of his mediocre cohorts, he never gives up and sacrifices 100% to the pitch whenever he’s on it.
TWO HAMMERS – Ron Weasley
The annoying friend. We all have one. We invite them everywhere even at the behest of other people’s pleas not to. Ahhh what can you do? He’s always there and he’ll never leave your side. Good chap. Problem is, what happens when he becomes a whiny, selfish, annoying prat? I get it though. Your best friend is Harry Potter, the chosen one, and your #6 on the Weasley list. Tough to go through all your years at Hogwarts living in the shadows of someone else. For me, it all culminated in the Deathly Hallows when Ron abandoned Harry and Hermione in their time of need. I understand Rowling wanted to showcase the worst and best of Ron (by having him come back when he was needed most) but really, it felt like an unnecessary addition to an already murky storyline. Ugh and that awkward slow motion dance between Harry and Hermione! Thanks, Ron!
Andre Ayew: Yikes! Can this man get some service? I think I saw Ayew try to collect the ball at the defensive end to get a touch. Not entirely his fault but he looked dreadful trying to connect with anyone on the pitch. Hopefully there’s still time to build some chemistry.
Manuel Lanzini: When Lanzini was finally taken off in the 62’ my first thought was, “Lanzini is still on?” Invisible is probably the best way to phrase Lanzini and his efforts. I find myself a bit perplexed because he was on such good form a few matches ago. I think when Payet and Antonio are in the driver’s seat it forces Lanzini to buckle up and spectate.
ONE HAMMER – Dobby
The Jar Jar Binks of the wizarding and muggle universe. Boy, was he annoying. Was I terribly sad when he took one for the team so Harry Potter can live? Eh, yeah I’m a human and the editing was great. Am I signing up for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare any time soon? Probably not. Ugh, just give them all socks and let’s be done with it.
Adrian: I’m a firm believer that there is balance in this world and nature tries hard to preserve that balance. I knew the day would come after Adrian saved so many matches for us, that he would have to lose one for us too. What was he doing off his line every five seconds? Silly goal to concede. The worst part is he didn’t stop after he let in the equalizer. He made everyone nervous for the rest of the match. Yeah, he was Dobby bad.