Finally West Ham have a victory on the season. It came against League Two opponent Cheltenham Town in the EFL cup but hey a win is a win.
It was not an overly impressive performance from West Ham and they likely would have been beaten by better opposition. However, it’s a win and hopefully a boost of confidence for a team that really needs it.
Let’s find out who won and who lost during this game.
Winner: Declan Rice:
What is there to say that hasn’t been said? This kid has been a star since preseason began. He was a calm force in the midfield once again and was far and away our best defensive midfielder in the game. The way he is playing he has to stay in the starting XI, Bilic would be crazy to drop him. I think it’s safe to say he’ll be sticking around the first team all season.
Loser: Reeces Oxford and Burke:
Neither of them are with the team right now so how can they be losers? Here’s why. They’re missing out on the chance that Declan Rice is getting. The performances of Jose Fonte and Angelo Ogbonna have been horrible and not great respectively. Rice’s play shows that perhaps the model of loaning a player out isn’t always the best way to develop a player. Oxford had certainly shown he can cut it in the Premier League. Burke has shown he can cut it as well but neither have been given the chance that Rice is getting. There is no way you can tell me that Reece Oxford or Burke could have played worse than Jose Fonte has played at West Ham. Learning and battling veterans like Ogbonna, Reid, Fonte, and Collins for your spot is a pretty darn good development opportunity if you ask me. Sure, this team needed to have a strong team to get a win but these kids have shown their ready and capable of being in the starting XI.
Winner: Diafra Sakho:
He notched a goal and was lively his entire time on the pitch. It’s been nice to see Sakho play the way he was when he first signed for us. Hopefully this continues and he can become a productive member of the squad again. His finishing isn’t as sharp as it could be but he’s been improving since getting back on the pitch and that’s more than can be said for other players in the squad.
Loser: Toni Martinez:
Again another young player that missed out on a chance at first team playing time. There was no reason to send Chicharito on for half an hour of play when you’re up 2-0. If he had gotten injured I’d demand Bilic’s head on a spike. Giving the young striker a chance in the first team would have been a huge boost to his confidence and allowed him to continue his upward trajectory he was establishing in preseason. It’s a missed chance to develop our youth players and reward them for their hard work.
Loser: Domingos Quina:
Man, I sound like a broken record but it was a chance to give him some signficant minutes and it was passed over. Coming on in the 88th minute saw him get a total of five or so minutes in this game. You can’t honestly tell me we couldn’t have substituted Edimilson Fernandes in the 75th minute and let Quina get a decent run out? Come on Bilic. It was nice to see the young Portugal midfielder out there but a cameo appearance doesn’t do much for his development.
Winner: Andre Ayew:
Well he actually appeared during the game which was nice to see. Apart from his goal he didn’t really do a whole lot but actually being noticed in a game is enough to say he’s a winner at this point.
Loser: Mark Noble:
After being one of our better players against Manchester United, Noble’s play has been below average. Apart from his very nice assist on Sakho’s goal Noble seemed a step behind all game. I love him to bits and I want him to be in the starting XI but his play hasn’t been there. Pedro Obiang hasn’t been much better and a defensive midfield pairing of Kouyate and Rice is our best option right now.
Winner: James Collins:
On his 200th appearance for West Ham the Ginger Pele put in a man of the match performance. He and Rice were the two best players on the field. Collins was a rock in the defense and even was threatening on set pieces offensively. He’s earned a starting XI spot right now after Jose Fonte’s dumpster fire performance and Angelo Ogbonna’s slow start. Whenever you need him the Ginger Pele has been there and performed. He’s an under appreciated player in my opinion and it will be a sad day when he leaves West Ham United.
Did I miss anyone? Let us know in the comments.