Part of the nightmare ending against Tottenham Hotspur last fall was the penalty given up by Harvard Nordtveit in the 90th minute against Spurs player Son Heung-Min. It was a bad play when everything was spiraling out of control for the Hammers, but the earlier goal given up by Darren Randolph was arguably worse given the circumstances.
Of course, the measured reaction by West Ham United fans was one of disgust and anger, and many fans wished that the Norwegian would never appear in Claret and Blue again. An injury to Nordtveit forced Bilic’s hand (oh, how that has been true all season) but when given a chance a few weeks ago to once again appear in the starting XI in his favored position in midfield, he has shined for the Hammers. Geo Mackie of Hammers Chat even lobbied for Nordtveit to get his chance a few weeks before that.
Nordtveit was quality yesterday, controlled the midfield!— West Ham HQ (@WestHam_HQ) April 23, 2017
Its amazing what a player can do when played in their correct position ⚒ pic.twitter.com/nJDrnVdlSM
Fans of the Bundesliga are more familiar with Nordtveit’s work for Borussia Mönchengladbach. While fans in England are more familiar with him being an Arsenal product that never even made an appearance at the North London club, the Norwegian spent five years at Mönchengladbach , appearing over a 150 times for them. He was a key member of the team that was able to finish 4th last season and seal a Champions League berth, along with American Fabian Johnson.
Havard Nordtveit has started at CDM three times this season. Three clean sheets. @Irons_Home— West Ham Fan Zone (@WHUFCFZ) April 29, 2017
Now it would be tempting for Slaven Bilic to insert Mark Noble back into the starting line-up for a home game against Spurs, but if Noble is to come back into the side, Nordtveit should not be the one dropped for Noble. Nordtveit needs to be given a chance from the start to put his own stamp on the match from a central, holding midfield role. With Spurs needing a win to stay in the title race against Chelsea, they will likely come out looking to attack and Nordtveit’s work rate and passing will be just what West Ham needs to keep Spurs off the board.
Give Nordtveit a chance, Slav, give him a chance to make up for that penalty against Son and let him play a key role towards shutting Spurs out of the title race.