Slaven Bilic – 7 – I’ll be honest folks, when I saw the team selection it didn’t flood me with confidence. We heard about how Andy was going to be ‘involved’ and Sakho ‘might surprise us’. Though when push came to shove, Bilic overlooked both of those choices when subs were forced to be made, and instead, opted for the untalented and unproven Jonathan Calleri. But, more on all that later. What cannot be criticized is Slaven’s absolute love for this team, and his adoration for the fans. His reaction at the final whistle will be put into Hammer highlight reels for years to come. Were his tactics world class? Far from it. Did the substitutions make a lot of sense? Not really. Could any match his passion for West Ham United? Never.
Slaven Bilic's reaction at the final whistle #WHUSWA pic.twitter.com/Q0XPHQAhJm— Brace The Hammer (@BraceTheHammer) April 8, 2017
Darren Randolph – 7 – The man looked as if he could have fallen asleep at some point. There wasn’t a ton of work for Darren on the day but when his number was called on, he made a crucial save to keep the narrow lead. Luciano Narsingh’s attempt was a hairline fracture away from finding the back of the net but Randolph got a fingernail to it. For a team that hasn’t had a clean sheet since early January, this was a huge lift. Score would have been higher had he more to do on the day.
Sam Byram – 8 – Easily our man of the match. Makes you wonder what Slaven was thinking holding this kid back, aside from the occasional knock. His wing play was superb and he put in an absolute stunner to stop a countering Swansea side towards the end of the match. One of our four heroes of the day.
Arthur Masuaku – 8 – Watch out, Aaron Cresswell. The Frenchman Masuaku looked wonderfully sound on both sides of the pitch. While not entirely known for his attacking prowess, he showed confidence on the ball, but more impressively, seemed to fit in well defensively. It’s almost as if the back line is starting to find a rhythm. Tune in next week when Bilic changes it up…
Jose Fonte – 8 – While the former Southampton captain hasn’t had the best start to his Hammer career, he certainly put on a clinic when it counted. Gylfi Sigurdsson never had a clear look at goal and that’s largely due to the efforts of Jose.
The Ginge – 8 – That’s right! I gave everyone an 8! These are my ratings and I’ll do as I please! Looking back to the start of the season we had Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, and Cheikhou Kouyate championing that back line. You wouldn’t know it watching the match on Saturday, however.
Cheikhou Kouyate – 9 – A nine you say? Imagine a world where that ball didn’t find the back of the net, we’d be talking about dropped points at home, a relegation race, yadda yadda yadda… However, it did splash the net; so instead we’ll give out high ratings and positive vibes! Cheikhou sat in front of the defensive line and played the part of the enforcer well, but he also picked his moments to charge forward and open up some channels. Great match all around for the big man.
Mark Noble – 7 – The captain made his 400th appearance for West Ham United this past weekend and it certainly seemed to charge his efforts. Noble was clinical in passing and marshalled the rest of the midfield towards a common goal; keep moving forward.
Manuel Lanzini – 9 – Boy we love this guy. Dimitri WHO? This kid was cutting up the Swansea defense faster than Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Knife (I googled best knives). Just needs to be a smidge more clinical in his finish and we could have one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League in a few years.
Andre Ayew – 7 – Who was the better Ayew on the day? You could probably make a case for both. If Swansea could do anything with Jordan’s amazing cuts, we could be having a totally different conversation today. Instead, it was Andre who came out the victor, even if not the better.
Robert Snodgrass – 6 – I’m one of the few who is not going to just crap all over Snoddy today. Why? I think the effort was there. He wanted so badly to make an impact on the field. His defense work was wonderful and he tracked back to aid newcomers Byram & Masuaku when he could. While it wasn’t the most impressive assist in footballing history, he was moving the ball around the front line as well. Twitter erupted in incredulities at Robert’s reaction to being subbed off, but I don’t think his game was all that bad. In fact, it’s a step in the right direction.
Get off the field Snodgrass and stop complaining #WHUSWA pic.twitter.com/QBYOnro4N5— Brace The Hammer (@BraceTheHammer) April 8, 2017
Michail Antonio – 6 – Probably would have had an amazing match as he was giving the Swansea defense fits in the back. But we’ll never know.
Jonathan Calleri – 4 – So here’s where I’ll probably give Slaven Bilic a hard time in his team selection. For his substitutes he brought on Jonathan Calleri and Sofiane Feghouli while Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho were just chilling on the bench like it was a Sunday in the park. So my question is, if Bilic never intended on using the two game changers, why have them on the bench at all. And lastly, where the hell is Ashley Fletcher? I’m tired of Jonathan Calleri. He’s awful. AWFUL. He missed some great chances in front of goal and his reaction? He smiled as if to say, “Oh, so close fellas!”
DNR: Sofiane Fehouli & Edimilson Fernandes. One of those two was a good substitution. I’ll let you decide.