Robert Snodgrass, unfortunately, is going to be forever linked the man who he almost, kind of, sort of, didn’t really, replace, Dimitri Payet. After the France international threw a hissy fit and tossed all of his toys out of the pram and sulked off to Marseille, and won exactly nothing other than “snake of the year”, Snodgrass was seen as his “replacement” as he came into the team and took up the same position on the pitch and designated free-kick taker. Of course, that’s not really fair to the Scotland international, as he was not really brought in to “fill” Payet’s boots any more than Jose Fonte was brought in to fill the boots of Angelo Ogbonna.
What a goal, Robert Snodgrass! 2-1 Hull. pic.twitter.com/la5oI86HYJ— - (@WengerTactic) December 30, 2016
When is the player that scored this goal going to show up for West Ham?
The difference in quality on that side of the pitch is glaringly obvious though. Payet could be counted on to send inch-perfect crosses into the box, glorious free-kicks, and magnificent corner kicks. Robert Snodgrass does none of those things. Oh, he can make a keeper look silly from free kicks as well, and he can get a good cross or two in the box, but he's not going to be shortlisted for the UEFA player of the year anytime soon. He was, however, pretty much the best player on Hull City this year, scoring nine goals and assisting on three others in 24 appearances for the Tigers. While Hull City has had a renaissance under new manager Marco Silva, Snodgrass has not blossomed in his time spent in London. For example, against Chelsea, Snodgrass attempted 15 crosses, landing a grand total of three of them. He was a little better against Watford FC and West Bromwich Albion, connecting on two of eight crosses in both matches. In the lone win for West Ham that Snodgrass has played in, the 1-3 drubbing of Southampton, Snodgrass crossed the ball five times, finding no one.
Snodgrass' poor touch has wasted a couple of good openings in this half— TheWestHamWayCoUk (@WestHamWaycouk) March 6, 2017
Now, The Daily Mirror is reporting that Snodgrass said he played through a twisted ankle and ligament problems. That sounds bad, and it also sounds like it would be painful to play professional football with those issues, but his performance against AFC Bournemouth was no different than the previous five matches that he played for West Ham United. In fact, the statistics merely confirm what West Ham fans had been saying for a couple games now, that Snodgrass is not worthy of an automatic starting position. The team has won exactly once with Snodgrass in the lineup, and it seems all too often the team’s strategy is to lob the ball into the box and hope that the big man gets a head on the ball, even if the big man, Andy Carroll, isn’t even in the team.
The other obnoxious part of Snodgrass playing through pain and an injury was that there was not a single striker on the bench against Bournemouth. None. André Ayew is a good attacking player, but he’s not a striker. The continued absence of Ashley Fletcher is worrying, and even Jonathan Calleri not being on the bench was disheartening. Andy Carroll may be the Hammers best striker, but he’s literally not the only one on the roster, and even he appears as though he is not fit. Keeping one of the strikers off the bench while Snodgrass limped around in pain is no way to bring the team back from behind, and the continued blind spot that Bilić seems to have for certain players is starting to cause West Ham to drop points.