Garth Crooks has been picking his Premier League team of the week.
Garth Crooks selects three West Ham players in his Premier League team of the week.
Obviously zero expectation of there being any Newcastle players chosen this time…
However, interesting to hear what he has said about the players he has chosen from the game at St James Park.
When you are beaten, well beaten, the tendency is to look at your own team for blame rather than give the opposition the credit.
West Ham were described as ‘flaky’ by one pundit going into the Newcastle match and you could see where that description could come from. With £100m spent this summer alone, after previous decent investment, they do have players who are match winners, with Arnautovic, Anderson and Hernandez costing around £80m between them.
Despite that they had only won one match since September before Saturday, despite impressive results such as 3-1 home to Man Utd and 3-1 at Everton before that.
Since promotion, Rafa Benitez hasn’t been allowed to buy anybody for more than £10m in any of the three transfer windows, whilst star man for the Hammers on Saturday was £40m buy Felipe Anderson.
Garth Crooks declaring ‘His performance against a battered Newcastle was outstanding’ and pointed out the Brazilian had a passing accuracy of 88.6%.
The BBC Sport pundit also makes the point that the Hammers came and played two up front, Arnautovic and Hernandez, as well as having other flair players such as Anderson.
Matches come down to goals of course and West Ham had four shots on target but scored three goals, Crooks revealing that Hernandez scored with both shots he had on target. Anderson scored one and Dubravka made a smart save when one on one with Brazilian for the fourth West Ham shot on target.
Forgetting about Newcastle’s contribution to the game, you had an ambitious West Ham team playing two up front, with the money/quality showing as they scored with three of their four shots on target. I would contrast that with the Watford match where Newcastle should have been dead and buried by half-time but the Hornets just didn’t have the quality to finish a host of chances, with Richarlison having been sold for £50m in the summer to Everton, who Newcastle play next…
Newcastle played well the first half but conceded a poor goal from their point of view, then as they opened up to try and get an equaliser in the second half, the Hammers had the quality to punish them. Whereas our cheap and cheerful forward line of loan striker Rondon and £1.6m buy Ayoze Perez never looked like scoring any of the chances that came their way.
Money talked on Saturday.
Garth Crooks chooses three West Ham players in his BBC Sport team of the week:
“He may be 33 and coming to a stage in his career where television punditry beckons but he’s still very capable of making the crucial challenge when it matters.
“The full-back’s tackle on Newcastle’s Solomon Rondon when West Ham were 1-0 up was the turning point in Saturday’s game.
“If Newcastle score it’s a whole new ball game. Instead Zabaleta played a crucial part a rare clean sheet for the Hammers.
“Did you know? Only Fabian Balbuena (10) made more clearances than Zabaleta (six) for West Ham in their 3-0 win at Newcastle.”
“I said a few weeks ago that Felipe Anderson had developed a taste for scoring goals. A run of four goals in four games makes the point.
“His performance against a battered Newcastle was outstanding. Anderson is no Philippe Coutinho but the Brazilian could be the man to finally replace Dimitri Payet.
“The Hammers fans love a playmaker and while Anderson may not be as gifted as Payet, hopefully he will turn out to be considerably more loyal.
“Did you know? Anderson had the best passing accuracy of any West Ham starter against Newcastle (88.6%).”
“All credit to West Ham’s manager Manuel Pellegrini. He went to Newcastle and played with two up front and it paid off.
“Marko Arnautovic and Hernandez always looked a threat but it was the superb finishing of the Mexico international that put the gloss on the sort of selection away from home that takes guts and deserves praise.
“Did you know? Javier Hernandez scored with both his shots on target at Newcastle.”