Let’s analyse player performance from David Moyes’ West Ham United’s important Premier league draw with Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace at the London Stadium yesterday evening, as the Irons moved up into the top-half of the table for the first time this season.
Adrian San-Miguel: 7/10
Coming back into the team as with all Premier League games, for Joe Hart after his Emirates FA Cup Fourth-Round outing, the Spanish shot-stopper was relatively untroubled for large periods of the affair.
But, when Adrian was called into action, like when Andros Townsend cut in and had an effort, he dealt with it well enough and had no chance of stopping Christian Benteke’s header to open the scoring, another positive outing for him at London Stadium.
Sam Byram: 8/10
Tasked with figuring in the right wing-back role in a back five of defenders, the young starlet looked confrontable in a largely unfamiliar role and made a significant improvement from Saturday’s showing at the DW Stadium.
While making a few rare errors in a defensive sense, Byram was a real threat going forward on the right side, winning balls back, getting into threatening positions and delivering impressive crosses, he looks to be back on top of his game.
James Collins: 7/10
As the right component of the three-centre-backs, the veteran was returning to the team having not featured at the weekend and put in another above par performance.
Collins was both strong in the air and on the ground but could be seen getting distracted by a back-post runner to leave Benteke unmarked to give Hodgson’s men the lead on 24 minutes, a rare mistake that the Welshman will be hoping to put behind him.
Angelo Ogbonna: 8/10
Featuring in the middle of the three centre-halves and continuing his run of starts in a very busy period under Moyes, the Italian carried on his improvement with the Scotsman’s guidance.
Ogbonna dominated the air, getting his head to the ball to clear crosses and free-kicks on numerous occasions, as well as making several key clearances and blocks, he will be raring to go again for Saturday’ trip to the South Coast.
Declan Rice: 9/10
Making his comeback from a hamstring injury that had kept him out for a few weeks, the Irish youngster very much picked up from where he left off within the team, earning rave reviews once more.
Rice was intelligent, composed and strong in his Football, committing to a tackle or too successfully, potentially goal-saving challenges at times, not to mention playing out from the back to the midfield with confidence, he really does look like something special at the moment.
Aaron Cresswell: 7/10
Returning to the left wing-back position in the absence of suspended Arthur Masuaku, the England International was very busy down the left side finding himself in fruitful positions with the ball time and time again.
However, there were signs that Cresswell may need to get used to being back out wide after a spell at centre back, most notably when defending on the flank and looking to pick out attackers in the box, all in all, an above average showing from him.
Pablo Zabaleta: 8/10
Slotting into the midfield, a position that he featured in plenty of times for Manchester City in his final season with them, for the first time in Claret & Blue, the Argentine looked at home.
Zabaleta was strong in the tackle, breaking up many a counter-attack and starting attacks for his own side by getting the ball back, as well as picking out fantastic passes to create opportunities, Moyes will face a dilemma over where to put him on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Noble: 10/10
Making his own comeback from a slight niggle, it would be a very special evening indeed for the Irons Captain for so many different reasons, as he netted his 50th West Ham career goal.
Noble achieved this by converting a penalty in trademark style past Wayne Hennessey, after James Tomkins had fouled Javier Hernandez in the area, aside from this, he was a sure Man of the Match contender with a dominant display in the centre of the park, it’s clear that he has so much more to offer.
Cheikhou Kouyate: 9/10
Partnering the two beside him in central midfield, although playing in a slightly more attacking role, the Senegal Skipper won the Man of the Match accolade with a gutsy display.
Kouyate was wounded by the elbow of Luka Milivojevic early on and sported a head bandage for the rest of the game, not uncanny to that worn by Mr Bump from Mr Men he provided the forwards with an endless supply of pace and creativity, a dramatic improvement on performances of recent weeks.
Joao Mario: 9/10
Making his full and home debut for the East Londoners, the Portuguese International was a revelation, settling into life in the Premier league a lot quicker than many thought he would.
Mario worked tirelessly for the full 90 minutes, an impressive feat considering the fact that he only joined on loan from Inter Milan on Friday afternoon, assisting Chicharito to win the penalty with some brutish strength, he will be hoping that he started as he means to go on over the next few weeks.
Javier Hernandez: 8/10
Playing as a lone striker with the support of the midfield, Mexico’s all-time leading goal-scorer enjoyed one of his better performances in East London winning the support of the home supporters back over.
While winning the penalty that led to the Hammers’ goal with some superb movement, Chicharito could have scored, himself, on numerous occasions, having a header saved well by Hennessey and having a great chance denied by a Tomkins tackle, close calls.
Reece Oxford: 7/10
Replacing the battling Kouyate with around five minutes of the affair remaining, the England U20 looked cool, calm and collected in holding midfield, protecting the defence.
Oxford did this well, getting stuck in late on to thwart some Palace pressure, though as the clock winds down on the January Transfer Window he is expected to return to Germany to complete his loan with Borussia Monchengladbach.
So, now that each and every featuring Squad member has been rated in the wake of a positive team performance and point in Stratford, will the Claret & Blue stars be able to rack up yet more high numbers on Saturday afternoon? When they journey to face Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.