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West Ham Season Preview #2: Winston Reid

The 29-year old, New Zealand native enters the 2017-18 season with a firm grasp on the starting XI.

West Ham United v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Last Season

Of the non-relegated teams from the 2016-17 season, only Watford, Swansea, and Bournemouth let in more than West Ham’s 64 goals allowed. In the last 6 matches of the season, however, West Ham conceded only 5 goals. The break from poor form coincided with the return of a certain center back.

On April 22, 2017, when the Hammers found themselves suddenly at risk of the relegation-zone, Winston Reid returned to the lineup from a 4-match absence. The next opposition goal was scored on May 14.

While there are a number of reasons for this sudden shift in defensive fortunes, Winston Reid’s presence in the lineup was, no doubt, a major boost to the squad when it was desperately needed.

Reid's 2 goals and 2 assists on the year don’t jump out in terms of impact, but according to Squawka’s Player Performance Score, only Manuel Lanzini positively influenced games for the Hammers than Winston Reid.

His 364 Defensive Actions (Clearances, Interceptions, and Blocked Shots) were good for 4th in the Premier league, despite playing less games than any other player in the top 10.

Top 10 Defensive Performance Scores for Defenders in the 2016-17 EPL season

Current Team Placement

While he doesn’t get involved in the offense as much as some defenders across the league. He is a top 15 defender and top 10 when it comes to sheer defensive abilities. Without doubt, he is the best defender on the West Ham roster.

As long as he is healthy, a starting role in the back is his to lose.

Stoke City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Goals for this Season

  • Stay Healthy. Reid played 30 matches last season , 24 the year prior, and 30 the year before that. If he can stay fit for 35 matches or more, he’ll be in play for the best season of his career.
West Ham United v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
  • 4 goals. Reid scored 3 goals in 2011-12 in the Championship. That marks the high goals mark in his career. At 6’3”, I’d like to see him push forward on more corners and set pieces to take advantage of his height, intelligence, and athleticism. Those elements coupled with the presence of attacking options like Chicharito, Arnautovic, and Antonio could prove to be deadly for West Ham this season.

The main thing Slav asks Winnie to do is defend. He clears the ball from dangerous areas and does so effectively, averaging 24m per pass last season. He is already one of the better defensive defenders in the league and though he isn’t asked to do as much offensively, improvement in that realm would mean good things for the Hammers.