It was one of the strangest matches you’ll watch all season long, yet, one of the more exciting affairs as well. West Ham United opened with the most dreadful of starts, conceding two goals and a red card that saw Marko Arnautovic take an early exit. However, they didn’t lie down. The Hammers were not to be put away quietly. Somehow, with 10 men, they found a way to claw back into the match as Southampton sat back, mouths ajar.
Two wonderful goals from Javier Hernandez gave life to, not only the thoughts of a draw, but the potential to steal three points from St. Mary’s. Unfortunately for Hammer fans, it wasn’t meant to be, as a 91st minute penalty in the box on P-Zabs (we’re cool like that) would ensure a Saint’s victory.
So let’s put numbers to efforts and try to make sense of it all!
Jose Fonte - 3 - Let’s talk about Gabbi’s goal. Jose Fonte lost his man, plain and simple. I saw my man Charlie from Hammers Chat talk about how Ogbonna should have covered the space but... bollocks. Gabbi just flew by Jose without hesitation. I’m not sure if Jose was confused as to which kit he was wearing, but he seemed to make bad decisions all day long. His passing was sub par, his defending was woeful… I don’t know. He mailed it in for me.
Angelo Ogbonna - 5 - Ogbonna was a bit better, if only slightly. I think he closed defenders down pretty well and made some hard stops, especially in the second half. He was certainly better of the two but, boy, do they need to work on their communication.
Pablo Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell - 7 - Zabs and Cressy were great. I’m an Arthur Masuaku guy, as I’ve said a hundred times over, but Aaron looked like Aaron of 2015/16. His crossing was sharp and his passing was fantastic. His defending … well let’s just leave it at it wasn’t as impressive as his movement forward.
Declan Rice - 7 - I think he was… good. He didn’t make any major mistakes but I think positioning he was okay. I’ll say this. He certainly showed he belongs in the starting XI and Slaven will have confidence when picking him onto the side. He also looked far better than Edimilson Fernandes, two games running.
Mark Noble - 5 - The heart was there again, but the results were not. I know I get a lot of flack for my ‘Noble-bashing’ but can someone please tell Marky Mark to cool it with the wild tackles? At one point he went spikes first into Stephens stomach as they rolled over onto each other. I love the fire and spirit but West Ham are desperate for a top tier midfielder to pair with Pedro Obiang.
Andre Ayew - 4 - I thought he was awful again. I know my man Andrew will disagree, but there was nothing positive there for me. He turned the ball over in key positions, one lead to a goal. I have no faith when he’s in the lineup. He needs to turn it around because at this point, he has no place in the starting XI for me.
Michail Antonio - 8 - How much did we miss having him in the lineup? At one point, he dispossessed Nathan Redmond and dribbled around four defenders to transition from defense to attack – something we talked about last week. He was en fuego for me. Sad to see him subbed out at the 60th minute but we expected it given his injury concerns.
Marko Arnautovic - 3 - What can I say? It was a payback elbow for several fouls that occurred earlier. Stephens had his head already tilted in anticipation as if he knew it was coming. Right in front of the ref, it will be a red card every time. Three game ban most likely. See you at Tottenham, Marko. Silly.
Joe Hart - 6 - Hart probably should have snatched up that first goal from Gabbi. However, Joey did have some nice saves against Tadic and even though the bar saved him from a Manolo stinger, he was very solid after conceding the first two. Can’t pin the loss on him. I did think it was hilarious when he was trying to throw Charlie Austin off during the penalty. Keepers are a funny lot.
Diafra Sakho - 6 - Sakho looked far more threatening at St. Mary’s than he did against Manchester United. He probably should have put away that header sent to him by Aaron Cresswell, but thankfully, we have Chicharito who will clean up those messes all season long.
Javier Hernandez - 9 - Can’t give him a 10 on a loss, sorry! You just know when he’s on the ball and has some space – he’s going to make something happen. Reminds me a lot of David Villa. He was the point of attack the entire match and every opportunity stemmed from him. If West Ham can play the way they did for the last 60 minutes against the Saints, for the rest of the season, the Hammers will be more than okay.