Before April ended, it was necessary to give James Collins the praise he richly deserved.
And now with the fourth month of 2017 long gone, it was only fitting to give the Ginger Pele the deserved honor of being our first Brace The Hammer’s Player of the Month, for April.
Let’s just repeat what I said in praising Collins just a few weeks ago, since it basically served as the preview piece for this award:
In a vital time, off the back of a five-match losing streak, the beloved Welch centerback has been instrumental in the Hammers getting five big points in their last three games to likely avoid a final games’ relegation fight. With vice-captain Winston Reid’s latest injury bug arriving at the wrong time, Collins’ displays against Swansea City and Sunderland were strong and assured. And with Reid back available in the lineup vs Everton this past Saturday, the “Ginger Pele” was not relegated back to the bench. Rather, he shined further.
Faced with the massive dilemma of preventing Romelu Lukaku from scoring in his 10th straight match against West Ham, manager Slaven Bilic made the shrewd decision of playing three centerbacks against the Belgian boss. Although aligning with that defensive formation has produced a number of rocky moments for his team this season, Bilic had the foresight to see that Collins deserved to be included somehow in the lineup with Reid and Jose Fonte. And the long time Hammer rewarded him with another star performance in the team, producing only their second cleansheet of 2017.
And the fans firmly agreed, as Collins was the runaway clear winner.
Manuel Lanzini, long destined to be the Hammers Player of the Season, added to his fine moments with more electric touches and play. However, as was the main problem for the Hammers in April, the Argentine wizard struggled to get on the scoresheet as he didn’t have one of the Hammers paltry three goals in the month. Collins, however, did.
The Welsh international was so good that he even gave us what should have been the game winner at Sunderland, before it was taken away with a late Black Cats equalizer.
But unlike that day, this victory can’t be taken away from James Collins, your first Brace The Hammer Player of the Month for April.