West Ham supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side brilliantly pick up their second Premier League victory of the season at the weekend.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men went into their clash with Manchester United on Saturday off the back of thumping Macclesfield Town 8-0 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, and thus full of confidence ahead of the visit of Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils. And the Hammers deservedly clinched all three points on Saturday as goals from Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic, alongside a Victor Lindelof own goal, inspired the hosts to a 3-1 win at the London Stadium, with Marcus Rashford’s effort proving to be nothing more than a consolation for United.
As such, there have been many delighted West Ham fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom have been heaping praise on 25-year-old Anderson for his efforts in the victory.
The Brazil international had made a relatively quiet start to life in East London following his move from Lazio during the summer, although he has certainly improved in recent weeks and finally got his first goal for the club on Saturday, in what a bright and very encouraging display from the winger.
And while the attacker will earn much plaudits for his exploits on Saturday, there is one man in particular who deserves a huge amount of credit for his efforts, namely midfielder and captain Mark Noble.
Much has been made about the Hammers’ midfield department following the departure of Cheikhou Kouyate to Crystal Palace during the summer, with some feeling that there simply isn’t the strength and industry in that area of the pitch to take Pellegrini’s men forward.
Yet a 3-1 win at Everton, in which they dominated the middle of the park, and then a 0-0 draw with in-form Chelsea, again in which they proved their worth in the centre of midfield, has somewhat batted away those doubts, doubts which were further put to rest by the brilliance of 31-year-old Noble on Saturday.
The Englishman touched the ball more times than any other West Ham player on Saturday (81) to underline his involvement in that area of the pitch, while he also attempted (67) and indeed completed (58) more passes than any of his teammates against the Red Devils – he helped make things tick in the middle of the park.
One of those completed passes released Pablo Zabaleta down the right-hand-side to cross for Anderson to brilliantly score the Hammers’ opener, before the 31-year-old split open the United defence to find Marko Arnautovic to net for 3-1 later on in proceedings.
Thus, Noble made a telling difference on the ball but, as is often the case, he did his bit off it as well in winning three of the four tackles he attempted over the course of the 90 minutes, at the same time making a clearance to keep the Hammers in the ascendency.
On the whole, the 31-year-old played as big a part as anyone in dominating the midfield area to thus lay the foundations for a thumping West Ham win, so while Anderson will receive much of the plaudits, it was £50,000-a-week Noble (as per Spotrac) who was the Hammers’ unsung hero on Saturday.
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