clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five Things We Learned: Dag & Red 1-3 West Ham

What main lessons were there in Daggers' charity game?

West Ham United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Two well-taken goals from Michail Antonio and a late third from Jordan Hugill saw West Ham to a 3-1 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge in a friendly match organised to raise funds for the struggling National League team.

There's no doubt that the main purpose was to help our cash-strapped neighbours, and tens of thousands of pounds are likely to have been raised for the club. This was more important here than West Ham's on-field performance.

Equally, manager David Moyes will need to judge everything he saw from his players through the prism of it having been a non-competitive match against a non-league opponent.

But with that said, there's still much to learn from this game. Here are our five biggest takeaways from the night:

1. Our starting left-back is surprisingly good when played as an attacker

From penicillin to crisps, some of the greatest inventions of the world happened by accident. Here, David Moyes may have just committed a masterstroke of his own, by choosing to deploy his regular left-back Michail Antonio as an attacker. Amazingly enough, it worked. Antonio was a constant threat and took both his goals well, especially his second where he shrugged off his defender and finished cooly past the keeper.

Hopefully Moyesiola can learn his lesson here and let Antonio do what he does best, not just because he can pose such a threat to defenders when he's on song, but also because the poor lad looks so uncomfortable at wing-back.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League
"Please don't play me at wing-back again, boss"
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

2. Keep an eye on the progress of Ben Johnson and Alfie Lewis

With unlimited substitutions, a thin first-team squad and players on international duty, this was always going to be a chance for youth players to see some action. Many, like Nathan Holland and Josh Pask, did well, but it was the two teenage prospects Ben Johnson and Alfie Lewis who particularly caught the eye.

Right-back Johnson, who came on in the second half, has impressed for the development teams this year and looked solid, quick and played his position well. He had the confidence to drive forward with the ball on a couple of occasions and provided a perfect assist for the third goal with a clever center.

Meanwhile Lewis looked tidy in possession and full of running from central midfield, offering the kind of pass-and-move game that our team is sorely lacking.

Keep an eye on these two teenagers, who have both signed their first professional contracts with the club in the last year.

3. Hugill still has some way to go

I really want to like Hugill. You could see he was trying, chasing balls down, competing physically with defenders, trying to hold the ball up. The problem was that he was rarely on his team-mates' wavelength and squandered a lot of his hard work with poor passing. His lack of pace prevented him from a clear sight at goal on a good one-on-one chance, and - at the moment - he looks short of Premier League quality.

Hopefully his late goal, laid onto a plate for him by Johnson, will give him some confidence.

4. Evra could do a decent job at centre-back if needed

He may have lost his pace but Patrice Evra can still compete physically with the best of them. Watching the makeshift centre-half compete with the Daggers' big strikers was actually fairly impressive. He made two excellent headed clearances of note, despite giving up several inches in height to his opponents, and was positionally sound.

With Reid out, Fonte sold and Collins limping off injured here, maybe he and Cresswell could switch positions and Evra fill a gap in the centre of a back five if needed.

Swansea City v West Ham United - Premier League
Could evra fit in alongside Ogbonna and Rice for our next home game?
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

5. Masuaku is a baffling and frustrating player. He makes things happen, good and bad.

I can't figure out whether I want Masuaku to play against Southampton. He spent most of this match not looking at all out of place on the non-league ground - falling over, mis-controlling painfully easy balls and going down blind alleys that only look good the one time out of 20 he comes out of them with the ball.

Yet he also put in two or three absolutely beautiful crosses and tested the keeper in the first half with a rasping shot from a solo run. Is he worth putting up with on the chance that he might - especially as the squad's best crosser - be the player to unlock the door for us? Super-sub, maybe?

Finally, I also feel like the trip east gave us a welcome distraction from the atmosphere and politics of Stratford, allowing us to focus on supporting the players, in an environment that even allowed us a hint of nostalgia for a night, especially to those of us riding the District Line again. It should also serve as a reminder of what a lucky club we are in many respects. Good luck to the Daggers.