2018/19 Squad Report so far

Its been a turbulent start to the season for West Ham. We were on such a low after losing our first four games but then turned it around and went on a four match unbeaten streak including a big 3-1 home win against Manchester United. Recent fixtures have received mixed reviews. We had a double loss in the league and cup to Spurs followed by a point away to Leicester and a big 4-2 win at home against Burnley. The latest game against Huddersfield being a very frustrating point where we came into the game expecting to win. In amongst the on-off start, there have been some good performances from the players in our squad, so who has done what so far this season…

 

1. Lukasz Fabianski – Our new number 1 has put in some excellent performances this season. Despite our less than pleasing goal difference he has been one of the standout players this season pulling off some excellent saves, notably against Manchester United and Huddersfield. One area of improvement would be his distribution which hasn’t been great this season, but still proving to be a bargain at a price of just £7 million. 7.5/10


2. Winston Reid – Very much a forgotten man now following his unfortunate injury in preseason. He should still very much have a part to play in our season when he’s back but will struggle to get in over our ever-improving current centre back partnership. However at 30-years-old it is very much make or break for Winston Reid at West Ham now, so lets see what the rest of this season has in store for him. n/a

3. Aaron Cresswell – It’s been very much one in one out in the left back position. Cresswell was overlooked for the first three games of the season before coming in to replace the injured Masuaku against Wolves. He looks a shadow of the player he was 3 or 4 years ago, rarely venturing forward and often a liability defensively. With Masuaku occasionally proving to be a liability and Cresswell fast approaching 29-years-old, it may be time to start looking at new options in the left back position. 5/10

4. Fabian Balbuena – “The General” has proved to be one of the signings of the season so far for us. He is one of the few players to have played every minute of every premier league game and he has got better with every passing minute. Strong at the back, sensible, good ability to play the ball out and a good leader of the defence. One criticism would be that he can occasionally get caught napping when we switch off defensively but overall he has been exceptional. 7.5/10

5. Pablo Zabaleta – With the signing of the younger Ryan Fredericks in the summer it wasn’t expected that Zabaleta would get much game time, however it has been quite the opposite. In fact, he has captained the team in recent fixtures. He shows time and time against how valuable good, premier league experience truly is and is a great role model to younger players and fans watching with his passion and professionalism. Age is catching up with him though, and with the news that he is set to retire at the end of the season, lets hope he can teach Ryan Fredericks a thing or two before the end of the season. 7/10


7. Marko Arnautovic –
Our talisman from last season picked up from where he left off striking 3 goals in our first 5 league games. Since then he has been very hit and miss to say the least. He either is unplayable or unnoticeable on the pitch. Often when things aren’t going his way, like in the Huddersfield game, he’ll stroll around and go into a sulk. However there is no denying how important he is to us and he is still our top scorer and in my view will reach my prediction of 15 goals this season quite easily. Let’s hope he stays with us. 7/10

8. Felipe Anderson – Our record signing had a very tough start to life in the premier league. It was obviously going to take time to adapt to the pace and physicality of the premier league. He was written off by some fans towards to start of the season as “lazy” due to seemingly not tracking back and from then on looked very short of confidence. Since our win at Everton I have noticed that he has worked extremely hard on his tracking back and you know that when he has the ball at his feet he is quality. The Burnley game was a real turning point. The two goals in that game seem to have sent his confidence sky high and now he is taking players on left, right and centre and beginning to look like the £42 million player we expected him to be. It is unclear whether he will be played out on the wing or as a number 10 this season, but if he keeps recent performances up he will be right up there at the end of the season. 7/10

9. Andy Carroll – A frustrating figure among West Ham fans. Injured again in preseason, he is expected to return after the international break. There is no debate over his goal scoring ability and he has won us many valuable games by himself in recent seasons but the decision still remains as to whether he will still be a West Ham player after this season, but only time will tell. n/a


10. Manuel Lanzini –
Suffered a horrific cruciate ligament in pre-World Cup training for Argentina. I was genuinely disappointed to see him miss out on the World Cup because he is such a quality player who would have shone at that tournament. However, my priority is West Ham and it is obviously a massively blow as our most technically gifted player would miss the first half of the season, but with his recovery going well he is expected to be back after Christmas. Exciting times ahead when our number 10 returns. n/a

11. Robert Snodgrass – A forgotten man last season. An outcast under Bilic it was unclear whether Snodgrass would still be a West Ham player come the start of this season. He has not yet recorded a premier league goal for the hammers yet but his performances have been exceptional so far. The passion and work rate he shows are excellent and he also has that quality that you need to be a creative midfielder. A genuine nice guy, who has huge appreciation for the fans and technically a very gifted I personally see him being a fans favourite by the end of the season. 6.5/10


13. Adrian –
His services haven’t been required in the league yet but he has been a regular fixture in the league cup and I’d assume he would be for the FA Cup as well. Often known for having a mistake in him but generally solid when called upon. Definitely seen better from him but have defiantly seen a lot worse. 5.5/10

14. Pedro Obiang – Another player who’s future was unclear at the start of the season. We eventually kept hold of him but it was unclear whether he was part of Pellegrini’s plans. In recent fixtures he has been a key component in our midfield three. I’ve always rated him as a solid, holding midfielder with good defensive abilities and excellent distribution but he is much better in his new position in the midfield three which allows him to venture forward more and express his more creative side. Would love for him to become a nailed on starter, but who knows with West Ham. 6/10

15. Carlos Sanchez – Our last signing of the summer window received mixed reviews. At the age of 32, he is not on the young side but at the cheap price it was hard to not accept the deal, especially as we were short of midfield options and he has premier league experience. He first started in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal and was a regular from there. Bar his one mistake against Wolves, I personally think he has been solid for us. He does exactly what a holding midfielder should do, sit back and protect the back four whilst also quickly helping play the ball forward to help the attack move quicker. Extremely unfortunate to injure ligaments in his knee in the cup win over Macclesfield which will result in him likely missing the rest of the season, but if he keeps himself fit, he should hopefully come back stronger for us. 5.5/10


16. Mark Noble –
I can safely admit now, I’m not the biggest fan of our club captain. At the start of last season I thought he massively underachieved but towards to end showed glimpses of what he is capable of. I watched all the friendlies throughout preseason and focused on him mainly through those games. I thought he was excellent, his passing was brilliant and he was starting to look forward. He didn’t exactly carry that on at the start of the season but I still wanted to see him do well as he has done it before. In our win at Everton he was moved to a more advanced role in the midfield three and it suited him perfectly. It allowed him to pass forward whilst not having to worry as much about getting back. From the 1-0 home loss to Spurs onwards he has looked awful in my opinion. Constantly passing backwards, making silly challenges and just too slow to play in a premier league midfield. The red card at Leicester almost did us a favour. With Snodgrass suspended for the Manchester City game it looks likely the captain will slot back into our midfield so it remains to be seen how he will get on. 5.5/10

17. Chicharito – For me, he has to be one of the most frustrating players in the squad. I was very excited when we signed him last year as I believed he was the 20 goal a season striker we had been looking for, but he has been far from that. A few injury and illness problems haven’t helped him but when he has been given his opportunities he hasn’t really taken them. He is very lazy and lacks the physicality to deal with the centre backs of teams such as Brighton and Huddersfield. There is no doubt that he is one of the best finishers at the club, but he has been extremely disappointing this season. 5/10

18. Jack Wilshere – This signing was always going to be a risk given his injury record but for a free transfer you can’t really complain. After seeing him in the previous season at Bournemouth he seemed to have got his act together, keeping himself fit and staying relatively injury-free. He has been exceptionally unlucky with his current ankle injury and the setback he has sustained but there is no doubting his quality and technical ability and he was beginning to show that in the four games he played this season. I am sure that he will have a long future in a West Ham shirt and can see him potentially becoming club captain in the near future, but the resolution to his injury troubles is yet to be found. 5.5/10

19. Andriy Yarmolenko – After his £17.5 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund, he arrived at West Ham with a reputation of being a hugely talented player. It wasn’t until our 5th game of the season where West Ham fans would be allowed to see this talent in full. He was given his first start and in the first 25 minutes already bagged a brace on his full debut. His second goal was an indicator as to the talent we have on our hands. Following good results, Yarmolenko, Arnautovic and Anderson had quickly built a reputation of being “the best front three outside of the top 6”. He unfortunately sustained a horrible looking ankle ligament injury against Spurs resulting in 6 months on the sideline but now hammers fans know what he is capable of, we are very much looking forward to what he can bring to the team when he’s back. 6.5/10

20. Angelo Ogbonna – Looked, at the start of the season, as if he would be one of the first names on the team sheet alongside Fabian Balbuena at the back, but after some shaky performances against Liverpool and Bournemouth he was confined to cup duty. His cup performances have been satisfactory with not much to do against AFC Wimbledon and Macclesfield, where he actually scored in both games, but against Spurs he looked very shaky again. Personally can’t see him getting in ahead of Diop or Balbuena anytime soon so we’ll have to see how he gets on in the FA Cup.

21. Issa Diop – The £22 million signing of the former Toulouse captain has proved to be a standout signing made by the board this summer. Having played most of the preseason games he was overlooked for the first two premier league fixtures. He was handed a debut against Arsenal where he was satisfactory, scoring an unlucky own goal. He scored our equaliser against AFC Wimbledon in our 3-1 cup win and he hasn’t looked back since. He has been a regular fixture in the league and cup for us this season and has been in contention for man of the match in nearly every game. He shows excellent composure for a man of just 22-years-old and his tackling puts him among the best in the premier league. One improvement I believe he can make is his ball control, he doesn’t look the most comfortable when receiving the ball but that, in the premier league, comes with age and being just 22-years-old, I feel that he has a bright future in East London. 8/10


22. Ryan Fredericks –
Being a free transfer from newly-promoted Fulham this looked to be a no brainer after his exceptional season in the championship last term. He started against Liverpool and struggled to deal with the pace of Mane, this not helped by being left exposed constantly by Antonio down the right. He has been in and out of the side since then but has failed to nail down a starting right back spot. Adapting to the premier league does take time but, with Zabaleta retiring at the end of the season, Ryan Fredericks can look to improve and hopefully slot into that right back spot once Zabaleta retires. 5.5/10

23. Arthur Masuaku – It seemed he would be our first choice left back for this season and he has been a more regular left back than Aaron Cresswell this season, but in recent fixtures Cresswell seems to have been preferred in this role. I personally don’t feel that Masuaku has had any ‘shockers’, so to speak, but he isn’t always completely reliable defensively. He is excellent going forward and I would be very intrigued to see how he gets on in the left wing spot. However he is only 24 and does have time to improve in the left back role. 6/10


24. Lucas Perez –
The £4 million deadline day signing from Arsenal arrived with a lot of positivity around this move. An adaptable forward player who can play on the wing, as a central striker or as a number 10, and for £4 million, it seemed a bargain for a player with premier league goals and experience under his belt. His West Ham life hasn’t really kicked off yet, with his only two goals coming in the league cup fixtures against Macclesfield and Spurs. He is an excellent option to have on the bench and can hopefully get a lot more game time. 5.5/10

30. Michail Antonio – Another player who’s future was unclear coming into the season with constant links away, but he was preferred to Yarmolenko in the first four league fixtures. He was a player who first broke into the team three seasons ago based on his hard work but since he signed his new contract he has looked a shadow of his former self. He is lazy, lethargic and seems to lack any form of technical ability. There is no doubt he is still a great player when he’s in the mood, but if a team like Crystal Palace offer £15 million for him, we cant refuse that. 5.5/10

35. Reece Oxford – Another forgotten man at West Ham. Three seasons ago he was an up and coming player and one of the most talked about talents in English football. Since then, he seems to have fallen out of favour with managers and that is no different under Pellegrini. He is yet to make an appearance in the league or cup and seems to have fallen low down the pecking order. Talent doesn’t last forever and it may be time, soon, to cash in. n/a

37. Nathan Holland – A bright young start who has excelled in the under 23’s since his arrival from Everton. It was reported that he was set to start in the league cup game against AFC Wimbledon but unfortunately sustained an injury prior to the fixture. He is currently getting back into training so we will hopefully get to see his talent in the FA Cup fixtures should he stay fit. n/a

 

41. Declan Rice – A player who became a fixture in the centre back role under David Moyes last season, but from the start of the season it was clear that Pellegrini wanted Declan Rice to sit in front of the back four. He looked out of his depth in the first game against Liverpool but was bought back into a midfield three against Everton and has not looked back since. He now plays like a seasoned pro, quickly gaining significant praise from some of footballs best and is now one of the hottest talents in world football. Hopefully we can tie him down to a new deal and he can make that defensive midfield position his own. 8/10

 

45. Grady Diangana – Another hot prospect coming into the season, Pellegrini called him up to the first team for the league cup game against Macclesfield as the boss wanted to see his talent first hand. He did not disappoint, scoring two very good goals on his debut. He was bought into the match day squad against Manchester United and made his debut in the last five minutes of that game. Following Yarmolenko’s injury, Diangana was given the nod ahead of Antonio in the right wing position and he has made that position his own. He has shown that he is capable of playing in the premier league, showing skill and attacking awareness of an experienced winger. The only improvement that needs to be made is his physicality but that will come with age and more matches. 7/10

 

 

Written By Albie | @AlbieGifford

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *