Thursday, August 11, 2022

Stop Messing About! – 3 Players Who Need To Step Up When West Ham Take On Middlesbrough

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

It has been a horrible start to the season for West Ham, largely contrasting to the campaign they had last time out. The Hammers have failed to build on their successful last season and Slaven Bilić must ensure that the team steps up in the coming games or else he could lose his job (considering how high the odds are at the moment).

The East London club have lost each of their other five Premier League fixtures and were beaten 3-0 by Southampton last weekend. Bilic’s boys have a golden opportunity to return back to winning ways when they host struggling Boro at the London Stadium on Saturday. The newly-promoted side are sitting 16th now with five points after losing their form despite a decent start.

Here are three players who need to step up their game when Boro travel to West Ham on Saturday.

Mark Noble

The West Ham skipper had a brilliant last season making a strong bid for a place in the England team for the Euros and then manager Roy Hodgson not opting to select him was a big shock. Noble has been largely disappointing this season, however.

Even though the West Ham skipper has registered a passing accuracy of 89.8% this season, he has failed to provide a protection for the leaky backline. West Ham have conceded as many as 14 goals in their last four Premier League games meaning that Noble and Kouyate, the central midfield pair of the Hammers, need to step up.

The 29-year-old has made just 1.5 tackles and 1.2 interceptions every game this season failing to make a single block or clearance. Noble needs to step up against Boro to change the fortunes of the club..

West Ham United's English midfielder Mark Noble reacts after commiting a foul that earned him a yellow card during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Southampton at The London Stadium, in east London on September 25, 2016. / AFP / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Stewart Downing

Boro started their much-awaited Premier League campaign in a decent manner but lost their form lately. A win is necessary for the Riversiders now and have to capitalise on West Ham’s poor form. Aitor Karanka will look forward to one of the most experienced members of his squad, former West Ham winger Stewart Downing to lead his side to a win at the London Stadium.

Downing has done a decent job this season and has registered two assists already, but the consistency has been missing. The former Liverpool winger needs to live up to the big occasion to hurt his former employers.

Simone Zaza

Horrible, appalling, dreadful, hideous- no adjective is enough to describe how wasteful Simone Zaza has been for West Ham since he joined the Hammers on loan from Juventus this summer. The Italian international, who grabbed the headlines in Euros but for very wrong reasons thanks to a deciding penalty missed, is yet to open his account at West Ham after four games in all competitions.

Not only the 25-year-old has failed to score but has also been totally ineffective and has rarely contributed to the general attacking play. With his 0.7 aerials won every game, 72.7% passing accuracy and just 0.3 successful dribbles every game, Zaza has not made any kind of impact up front. However, with Carroll still missing through injury, he will get another chance to make up for his early disappointment and needs to step up against Boro.

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