It’s time to take a look at your weekly winners and losers. It was another ugly game for West Ham United as they fought valiantly only to lose in the dying minutes.
Winner: Michail Antonio:
For the second straight week Antonio ends up on the winners list. His return to the lineup was a major spark for a team that certainly needs one. His hold up and shot set up Javier Hernandez for his first goal in the claret and blue, and Antonio’s runs at defenders kept them on their toes. There was a brief moment of fear as he came up hobbling with a hamstring tweak but he quickly ran it off. He may not be the most skilled player but his athleticism, pace, and versatility kept West Ham in the game when we should have been heading for another 4-0 drubbing.
Winner: Declan Rice:
This young lad may have cemented himself in the starting XI for the foreseeable future. His calm play stood out in the midfield and he was rarely caught in a bad spot. Playing in defensive midfield only adds to the excitement around this kid. Imagine if he was playing center back which is his preferred position. I can’t imagine dropping Rice right now with the way he’s playing.
Loser: Jose Fonte:
What is there to say really? The man was a dumpster fire in defense. His play lead directly to two goals. His failure to mark Manolo Gabbiadini was simply terrible. His dragging down of Shane Long in the box was even worse. Fonte has been nothing but garbage since he joined West Ham last winter.
My assessment of Jose Fonte pic.twitter.com/6bxbZzQKAB— Jackson Schmidtke (@schmidtkej) August 19, 2017
If I were David Sullivan I’d ship this guy off on the next train possible. I don’t care where he goes or even if we have to pay the other team to take him. I just want him as far away from this team as possible and as quickly as possible. Surely, Reece Oxford or Reece Burke could have played better than the Portugal defender has since joining West Ham. #FonteOut
Loser: Joe Hart:
Fonte absolutely hung him out to dry on the first goal. That said, he still needs to make that save. His flying punch a few minutes later almost lead to another goal. He should have just caught the ball in the acres of space that he had. There’s nothing he could do about either of the penalties so I can’t fault him on those.
However, Hart was brought in partially for his veteran presence and his ability to “organize” the back-line. I thought it was a bad move from the beginning and I think I’m starting to be proven correct. He hasn’t been a definitive upgrade over Adrian plain and simple. Sure he made some decent saves against Southampton, but none of them were saves Adrian couldn’t have made. He’s a big name to get fans excited but otherwise a waste of money.
Winner: Slaven Bilic:
After going two down and Marko Arnautovic’s red card this team could have packed it in and taken another beating like they did to Manchester United. However, the team came together and played excellently down a man and got the game level. The heart they showed was excellent and is the type of play we saw in Slaven’s first season. He was able to adjust his tactics and the team responded well.
Loser: Slaven Bilic:
For as good as the team played down a man there are troubling patterns emerging with this team and it’s Slaven’s fault. Since last season this team has been prone to very slow starts. Both this week and last week the team has been very flat to start the game and there hasn’t been much fire coming out of the gates. The defensive organization has been shambles since last season. As a relatively good Premier League defender himself there’s not reason that Slaven’s defensive should be this porous. Coupled with the fact you have another excellent defender as a coach in Julian Dicks the defensive issues are even more alarming. The organization and tactics begin and end with the manager. Sure, players like Jose Fonte have performed to the level of a 12-year-old but it’s up to the manager to put the right personnel out there and have the right tactics, defensively that hasn’t happened.
Because of the start we’ve had Bilic’s seat is hotter than ever. I felt Slav deserved his chance to prove he could do it but so far things aren’t looking good. Despite the spirited performance against Southampton there is no reason we should have been in that position to start with. Next week’s game could be a make or break game for Slav. A loss and surely he gets the sack sooner rather than later, a draw is an absolute must but even with a point I fear that Bilic’s fate is already sealed. We need a win against Newcastle United plain and simple.
Loser: Andre Ayew:
Once again the Ghana midfielder/striker/player disappeared. He has done absolutely nothing to justify the outrageous £20 million we spent on him last summer. I can’t decide if it’s time to give up on him yet but his play so far this season has been extremely poor. He can thank Marko Arnautovic for allowing him to stay in the starting XI for one more game and if he doesn’t show up he’s gotta be dropped.
Winner: Aaron Cresswell:
The England left-back seemed to be back to his form of seasons past. His cross to Diafra Sakho was a thing of beauty and set up Chicharito’s second goal. He looked very lively heading forward and was adequate defending. After Arthur Masuaku left the door wide open for Cresswell last week it seems the England defender has seized the opportunity for now.
What’s there to say? The Mexico striker has been superb for the claret and blue so far. His brace against the Saints showed how valuable he is as a poacher. Those are the types of goals West Ham have been missing since the time of Kevin Nolan. When moved to the wing he showed great vision and pace to get around defenders and help set up his teammates. He’s quickly becoming a cult hero and I can’t wait to see what he can do with Manuel Lanzini back in the lineup.
Winner: Diafra Sakho:
Sak is back, so it seems. His play Saturday showed he could have a budding partnership with Chicharito. His header from Cresswell’s cross was good and set up Chicharito for the rebound. His work and hold up play helped keep the team in the game and it’s nice to see him fully fit. Lets just hope he stays that way.
Loser: Marko Arnautovic:
Oh Marko, why can’t you keep you head on straight mate? We knew his attitude was an issue when we bought him but I’m surprised we saw it be an issue so soon. Then again, it shouldn’t be surprising since the Austrian attacker can snap at any moment. His play offensively wasn’t bad, he had a good header that he should have put away and he was lively going forward. He worked hard to defend as well but let his temper get the best of him. His red was completely preventable and unnecessary. It put us at a numerical disadvantage and took away an excellent attacker for most of the game. It also means we see Andre Ayew in the starting XI for another week.
Agree? Disagree? Miss someone? Let me know in the comments!