Now that I’ve wet myself in excitement from seeing Rogue One an embarrassingly number of times, it seems only fitting that we do this week’s player ratings to theme of non-Jedi Star Wars characters. This article will be dedicated to the heroes who don’t always get the credit they deserve. The unsung warrior who never wavers, and without them, all would be lost. As Hammer fans, how often do we stop and think about where we’d be without the heroics of Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang. Not enough, I’d say. With that said, let’s dive into a galaxy far, far away.
FIVE HAMMERS – Chewbacca
He’s big, he’s furry, and he’ll tear off both of your arms and beat you to death with them. Many people don’t know the story of Han Solo and Chewbacca. Han was a captain in the Imperial Navy when he witnessed a Wookie being beaten and battered horribly. Han freed that Wookie and, for his troubles, was court martialed and thrown out of the Navy. However, because he saved Chewbacca’s life, Wookie custom dictated Chewbacca now owed Han a life-debt. So he followed him everywhere for the rest of Han’s life, up until the very moment Kylo Ren put a saber into his father’s belly. It will be interesting to see what Chewie does now that he no longer owes anyone anything. He’s a free Wookie!
Cheikhou Kouyate – Where doesn’t this man play? He seemed to be shifting from a defensive midfielder to a right back to a center back. His movements were fluid and his defending was stalwart. While Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll, and Mark Noble will always be in the spotlight – Kouyate is a fierce necessity that goes underappreciated. I’m terrified for the 6 weeks during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mark Noble - Was it Nobles best performance of the year? Not really. But the captain stood up when it counted and took charge at the penalty spot. Plus he almost scored the equalizer (eek).
FOUR HAMMERS – Jyn Erso
Sure, she’s been part of the Star Wars universe for roughly a week but that doesn’t make her any less of a bad ass. Without revealing any spoilers, Jyn leads a group of spies and soldiers into the very heart of the Empire on a vital missions to steal plans to the Death Star. This rag tag group of heroes and heroines are put to the test and show what one can do in the face of overwhelming odds. My new life mantra is below:
Darren Randolph - Randolph once again shows why he’s between the sticks over Adrian. Game saving save against Harry Maguire in the first half.
Michail Antonio - I put Antonio up here mostly because I didn’t want Randolph to be alone. It wasn’t the prettiest of games for West Ham and if we’re being 100% honest they were extremely lucky to escape with a point. Antonio wasn’t effective up the flanks but he did earn the penalty.
THREE HAMMERS - Boba Fett
The iconic bad ass that has had more expanded universe content in the form of comics and books than any other character in the galaxy. Episode II (while awful) gave us insight into the backstory of Boba and why he first donned the Mandalorian armor. Even more telling, since 1977 Boba Fett merchandise sales was second to only Darth Vader. It is rumored there will be a Netflix series in the next few years to show the rise and hardships Boba endured making a name for himself and coming out of his father’s shadow. Also if you think he actually perished in that Sarlacc Pit you got another thing coming buddy!
Andy Carroll - I can’t be too hard on Andy. He seemed winded and tired - and a bit lazy. Hull seemed content to just keep a man on him at all times. At points, the only way he ever got a touch on the ball was back in their own half. Hopefully he improves with increased play time.
Dimitri Payet - Another sub-par performance from our superstar. Payet and Lanzini just never seemed to connect. Perhaps the formation was to blame a bit but Payet’s passing lacked zip and accuracy. His runs into the box seemed amateur and he was stopped at every turn.
Winston Reid - Nothing to write home about. Another serviceable performance that we’ve come to expect from the ever-reliable Reid. Wasn’t his best match, however, and lost his marker on a few occasions.
Pedro Obiang - Another player I won’t be too hard on. He was pulled at the half for more offensive options and not entirely because he didn’t look sharp.
TWO HAMMERS - Senator Bail Organa
Weird pick, right? WRONG! Organa is the man. He fought for the resistance and even worked to subvert the Emperor while serving as a senator. Organa invented the phrase ‘change the system from within’ and his adopted daughter, Leia Organa, shared his vision. He was trusted by Yoda enough to be one of the two people who were aware of the location of his exile and to raise the woman who would become a General of the Resistance.
Angelo Ogbonna - Just stop it Angelo. One week you’re stellar, the next, you’re unrecognizable. He just can’t seem to nail down the positioning in any system Bilic has put him in. It’s like Slaven broke Ogbonna and now we’re stuck with him...
Manuel Lanzini - The only difference between Lanzini and Payet is that Payet kept trying. Lanzini seemed frustrated with himself and his teammates.
ONE HAMMER - Han Solo
Ladies love him... guys want to be him... it must be Han Solo! I didn’t save Han Solo for the One Hammer category because I like him the least. On the contrary, he’s been a personal favorite of mine since I was a kid. He’s the reason I always choose the rogue character in any video game. He’s the reason I have a “Han shot first” t-shirt that has seen much, much better days. When I bet on a match and my bookie calls me crazy because the odds are 500-1 I yell bursting with pride, “Never tell me the odds!”.
Aaron Cresswell - Just awful. I’m hoping Aaron just had a bad breakfast or was up all night because I haven’t seen him play that poorly... ever. I’m not sure what the reason is but hopefully he snaps out of it for the next match. That back pass that was gifted to Dieumerci Mbokani would have put Hull up 1-0 if Mbokani was any other striker on any other team.