Diangana Comes Of Age-Anderson Shows Class-Snoddy Shines

Several meaningful events occured before during and after West Ham United's wonderful 4-2 victory over Burnley at the London Stadium, firstly there was the surreal presence of a helicopter flying very very low over the Olympic Park, it eventually landed right next to the Bobby Moore five a side pitch across from the canal in order to airlift someone who had collapsed on the turnpike near Hackney Wick station, we are still awaiting news of the outcome and hope that the victim makes a speedy recovery.

Saturday's game was the complete antithesis of the corresponding fixture from last season which prompted several pitch invasions as the visitors ran out as 3-1 victors, that was a low point for the club and it's fans ridiculed by the media who couldn't wait to give West Ham a 'khaning'. Fast forward to this season and things could not be more different, Burnley look a shadow of the tight knit unit that they were last season and are leaking goals all over the place, possibly signing Joe Hart wasn't the best of ideas, that said he did make some cute saves and for a while threatened to put in the sort of performance for the visitors that he rarely managed for the home team whilst on loan from Manchester City.

The already brilliant atmosphere was further enhanced by that wonderful of things an early goal to help settle the nerves, the fact that Marko Arnoutovic 'robbed' England defender James Tarkowski of the ball before slotting home past Hart only added to the enjoyment. There upon Hammers really pushed the go button and were unlucky not to be three up by half time only to be undone by a sucker punch through ball that was tucked past the advancing Fabianski before trickling in to the net for what was an entirely undeserved equaliser which did rather put a dampener on the proceedings. However any hopes of a Burnley revival were quickly dispelled as Hammers went on the rampage courtesy of some blistering runs down the flank by Grady Diangana, who terrified the visitors' defence, and Felipe Anderson who showed exactly why Manuel Pellegrini had so coveted his signing.

Anderson was imperious, his decision making was spot on and he was able to 'balletically' dance past the opposition defenders as if they weren't there on occasions, his link up play with Arnoutovic, Snodgrass and Diangana was exceptional bordering on the telepathic which can only bode well for the future. Anderson had come in for a lot of crticism from a certain section of the home crowd previously with many questioning his ability and his commitment, well he showed both of those qualities in spades on Saturday, his work rate was first class and his commitment to tracking back and putting in a tackle was second to none.

Anderson quite rightly won the man of the match award, however another player who had been on the receiving end of substantial unfair criticism, Robert Snodgrass, performed impeccably, slotting in to the vacant midfield role normally occupied by the suspended Mark Noble. Snoddy's work rate was phenomenal and he looks like he dropped a good few Kilos during the summer training camp, he looks fitter and leaner than at anytime since he arrived from Hull City in a £10 Million plus deal that was destined to be a poisoned chalice as he had to replace the mercurial talent of Dimitri Payet, he was eventually sent out on loan for the next season at Aston Villa where he was very well thought of, and indeed his loan could have been turned into a permanent deal had Villa not fallen at the final hurdle of the play off game against Fulham.

Very few thought that Snodgrass would return or even be welcome at West Ham given his fracturous relationship with majority shareholder David Sullivan and the things said between both parties, but Manuel Pellegrini recognised that beneath the beard and the extra weight there was a really decent player waiting to be released. Much to the chargrin of many fans, El Pel started to give Snodgrass ever increasing time on the pitch, which after a bit of readjustment saw the player re-inventing himself and finally beginning to resemble the player he was before he arrived at the London Stadium, Villa fans still love him, so it is testament of his desire to make amends that he was so determined to make a go of things under the guidance of Pellegrini. Villa did eventually receive the sort of funds required to sign Snoddy following the take over of their club, but by that time the midfielder had already done enough to be earmarked for deployment by his new manager.

The whole of the team performed magnificently whilst still being able to put the crowd through the ringer by managing to concede from leading 1-0 and then conceding again with the score at 2-1, the additional goals from Felipe Anderson and Chicharito were the icing on the cake, but even they looked on in hope and prayer as the ball clipped Fabianski's bar with the score at 3-2 following a Burnley counter attack at the death. There were superb performances from the back line which featured the recalled Aaron Cresswell, Issa diop,"Rocky' the 'General' Balbuena and 'Duracell Man' Pablo Zabaleta, if you could package up for sale his energy you would make a fortune. Unsung hero Pedro Obiang, whose presence had been sorely missed while he was injured also returned to the starting line up, his link up play with the continuously improving and mature beyond his years Declan Rice was a joy to behold. With Robert Snodgrass joining the triumverate in midfield the team returned to the sort of balance that was there during the impressive victories over Everton and Manchester United.

Marko Arnoutovic continued in his talismanic role up front, he looked far more comfortable than in previous games as a result of having a bit of a break but also because the burden on his shoulders is now being shared by Felipe Anderson and the newly unearthed wondeful talent that is Grady Diangana. We thought it would be only fitting to leave the appraisal of Diangana to the very end, football is a funny old game as the hackney'd expression goes, the dreadful sight of Andrily Yarmolenko being stretchered off was followed by the 'here we go again' injury curse as he joined an already extended list. Because Javier Hernandez was suffering from an acute bout of influenza and unable to play for several weeks things looked very sparse on the striker front especially when Marko Arnoutovic was struck down with a virus.

Panic not, having already been invited to train with the senior squad and having featured by scoring a brace against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, Grady Diangana was an obvious choice to try out to burgeon the ranks however his first Premier League start was marred by having to play the majority of the match as an out and out defender due to Mark Noble's dismissal during the game against Leicester City. Given the opportunity to play in a team featuring eleven men, Diangana has gone from strength to strength and put in an incredible shift at the London Stadium against a Burnley team who are no slouches, he seems a very level headed young man and is an exciting prospect for the future.

It is perhaps testimony to Manuel Pellegrini's experience and stature that he is able to bring on young players seemlessly, no one would question the selection of Declan Rice now would they? Pellegrini knows young players have a propensity for making mistakes, however his phylosophy is that they learn from them and that he is willing to give them time to develop. There are very few, if any, teams in the top flight that could cope with an injury list as long as the one that Manuel Pellegrini has had to deal with, but every cloud has a silver lining and that is more than ever illustrated by the emergence of Rice and Diangana.

Has the club 'turned the corner'? Probably not, is there hope? There certainly is, there are also a few long serving 'stalwarts' who will most definitely be looking over their shoulders as the 'new blood' arrives and makes it's mark! - Ed



Wednesdays crowd must have been saving themselves for our big rivals Burnley then!!

174 users have voted.

The claret and blue Derby, 65

189 users have voted.
Dartford Bhoy's picture

actually thats a very good point. Although Wednesday was a London Derby it was still the Micky Mouse Cup and plenty of tickets were available to the "tourists". The Prem, even against Burnle,y is more popular...IMO :o)

Saw this 65 and thought of you :o).... https://www.claretandhugh.info/the-london-stadium-tourist-conundrum/?utm...

166 users have voted.

No excuse imo.sorry but that's how I see it

158 users have voted.

I feel exactly the same.

153 users have voted.
Dartford Bhoy's picture

Thats the bottom line

192 users have voted.
Dartford Bhoy's picture

i will convert you one day buddy... come to the game with me... got two tickets!!!

Keep the faith... just put a flutter on 1-4 for Saturday!

Mr Deluded Optimistic!

175 users have voted.

Thanks for the offer mate,but the only way you could convert me is if they knock the bloody place down,build a proper football stadium & have a walk from the station like it used to be at uppers...it aint ever gonna happen so thats it for me!!i went to 3 night games last season & 1 this season & apart from the carpenters pub (which is great by the way) when i walk into this stadium i feel totally deflated,for me that is not what westham is all about...but good luck to you if you enjoy it!!

165 users have voted.
nevillenixon's picture

Saturday's crowd was completely opposite to Wednesday's, and yes the atmosphere was already brilliant before the goal was scored, well at least it was from the Bobby Moore Upper.

181 users have voted.

When are the Two Davids going to offer Declan Rice a new contract? Apparently now teams like Chelsea and even Spuds are monitoring his progress with the Hammers. Rice was superb on Saturday, and his positioning in front of the the two centre backs are vital to West ham's defence. Pellegrini seems to have sorted out this defence shortcomings from previous seasons, but more clean sheets are vital!

167 users have voted.
albyforeverirons.'s picture

but know they are comparing him to Fernandinho at Man city and saying they should get him. His head will be turned by all this talk and also his manager who will have £ signs in his eyes and he will go. Loyalty is dead.

156 users have voted.

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