While it is a bit difficult to regard anyone as a hero when they are on the end of a 5-0 thrashing, the fact it was against a team of Manchester City’s calibre must be brought into account. Indeed, the Guardian even suggested the Irons played well in flashes during the first-half, so perhaps the scoreline wasn’t ultimately reflective of the performance.
There were times where this game was painful viewing for Hammers fans, though there was one ray of light: Sebastien Haller.
The Frenchman knew he was in for a tough time before the game, with The Mirror quoting him as joking: “I go there for a lot of money, now first game City. Why? There are better games to build your confidence. Hopefully, I will touch the ball! We will see.”
He wasn’t far off with his prediction, but West Ham’s record signing did the best with the very limited opportunity he got to show what he can do.
While a lot of the excitement around the 25-year-old would surely have been around his end product, as he scored 15 goals and assisted nine times in the league last season, as per WhoScored, he didn’t get a chance to show that, with one weak shot being all he could muster.
Still, this suggests there are other sides of his game which West Ham supporters can actually take encouragement from.
Indeed, Haller was capable of holding the ball up well, winning two aerial duels, while he also maintained the joint-highest pass success rate of any player in claret and blue alongside Declan Rice, completing 89% of his attempts.
The Frenchman also helped out defensively, making four tackles – the joint highest of anyone on the pitch – as well as three interceptions, a number which was only surpassed by Aymeric Laporte.
While this was a highly frustrating game for West Ham, there may be easier days at the office to come, with the next fixtures being against Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford, Norwich City and Aston Villa. Carry on that kind of form and Haller can give his new side a real presence up front.
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