With the annual West Ham United Player Awards a mere three months away, it’s now time to check out some of the main candidates for the night’s showcase award, the Hammer of the Year, there are some old favourites and some new unlikely names too.
The veteran full-back arrived from Manchester City in the summer on a free Transfer and was expected to play second fiddle to his younger colleague at right-back and starlet Sam Byram.
Instead, the former Premier League winner has displaced him in the starting Xl, only missing a single English Top-Flight matchup through suspension against Liverpool in early November 2017.
The 34-year-old has played like a star ten years his junior at times, putting in countless sound defensive displays and playing a key role in many of his team’s clean sheets.
But, Zabaleta has also flourished in an attacking sense, providing support to the forwards on that right side and even featuring in the right-wing back role, along with right-back, even central midfield on occasion.
At the start of the campaign, few would have thought that he would be at the front the race to holding the club’s Player of the Year and that is testament to his age-defying abilities, should he triumph, he will be the oldest ever recipient of the accolade.
After a sluggish start to the 2017/218 campaign, the former Juventus star has turned things around in East London in the last few months to place himself firmly in the running.
While those around him have constantly been chopping and changing, Ogbonna has been able to remain fit and re-affirm his position as a starter in the back four, especially David Moyes took over from Slaven Bilic over four months ago.
The Italian has been a rock in the centre, dominating the air and the ground, warding off attack upon attack from the opposition, his improvement since hooking up with the club at the start of the 2015/2016 season has continued over the campaigns.
In addition, Ogbonna has managed to remain injury-free for much of the term, unlike his first two seasons in East London, and even net three goals to add to his only other strike in Caret & Blue over two years ago.
The first of them came in a Carabao Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers at the London Stadium and then again in the next round, the winner in an away triumph at Wembley Stadium, coupled with a header against another “Big Six” outfit, PL leaders Manchester City, he is many’s choice.
Much like Ogbonna, the Austrian club-record signing didn’t make the best of starts in the late summer months, though his form did pick up with the arrival of Moyes and he is now in the reckoning.
Arnautovic endured a nightmare start in a West Ham shirt, getting sent off in only his second competitive match away at Southampton in the Premier League for lashing out at Jack Stephens.
But, after his suspension had been lifted and after he had an ample couple of months to settle into his new life in the Capital, the £25 million man was able to show the supporters what he can really do.
Arnautovic started by grabbing the only goal of a home tie with Chelsea, going onto repeat that feat away at former club Stoke City, Newcastle United, AFC Bournemouth, Huddersfield Town and Watford, his return from an injury.
The fan favourite now has a remarkable seven goals and three assists in his last nine in the PL and no doubt, if he can carry on this form over the conclusion of 2017/2018, the award will be his.
The final two of our fabulous five are two more runners with an outside chance and the first of those is a man who has been the recipient of the award on two previous occasions.
The skipper Noble was criticised for some of his showings in the early part of the term, recovering since then to put in showings not uncanny of those he was able to display in his younger years.
Aside from his commanding performances in midfield, the former Academy product has also enjoyed a landmark year, recently netting his 50th goal for the cub in a home draw with London rivals Crystal Palace.
As well as this, he also made his 300th PL appearance in Claret & Blue, marking the excellent occasion with a first-half penalty which set his team on the trail to a 0-3 away win at the Bet365 Stadium.
Noble has also been able to notch a rare strike from normal play as well, slotting home from close-range in a triumph at the John Smith’s Stadium, the award would go a long way to capping off a special season for him.
The Argentina International and last year’s Hammer of the Year runner-up Lanzini will be eager to go one better than his Players’ Player of the Year award in 2016/2017 in May.
Many believe that he has a fair chance of doing so this time around, despite spending large chunks of the season so far sidelined with injury, he is currently still out with a hamstring blow.
However, when he has been fit, Lanzini has been firing and on the top of his game once more, this can be seen with his joint-highest tally off assists, five, alongside full-back Aaron Cresswell.
Lanzini’s form in front of goal hasn’t been too shabby either, he has picked up three strikes, his first coming in the aforementioned defeat to the Reds in early November.
The other two arrived courtesy of a double of assists from Arnautovicpartnership with, in the trip to face Huddersfield, “The Jewel” certainly is shining once again.
So, now that you’ve heard five of the most probable choices to pick up West Ham United’s Player of the Year award for the 2017/2018 season, do you agree with our candidates or think there should be others on this list? Please do get in touch with us to let us know or vote in our exclusive poll on Twitter @MooreThanAClub.