West Ham won their first game of the season in an impressive display against Charlton and four players staked their claim to start against Arsenal.
The side that played Charlton was very different from the one that lost 2-0 against Newcastle. David Moyes named ten changes and saw lively performances from a lot of the players that have found themselves on the fringes at West Ham recently.
It may only have been against a League One side, but two goals are still two goals. Now West Ham’s top scorer for the season so far, Haller must lead the line against the Gunners. Haller has struggled at times for the Hammers, but he showed against Charlton that there is still a capable goalscorer there.
The Frenchman’s goals showed two important striker attributes. The first was smart running to make himself available for Andriy Yarmolenko to pass to him for a simple tap in. The second was a brilliant header past the goalkeeper.
Haller may not be as mobile as Michial Antonio or former Hammer Marko Arnautovic, but with the right service, the 26-year-old can become the talisman West Ham need.
Masuaku may not have had too much defending to do against the Addicks, but did what was required of him. The 26-year-old showed real promise going forward and made a lot of positive moves happen from the left with his link-up with Felipe Anderson.
The DR Congo international comes into his own when he has the ball at his feet, and he is taking on defenders. This is something Masuaku did a lot against Charlton if he carries on playing like that he could make the left-back spot his own for the foreseeable future.
To be honest, Masuaku did not need to do a lot to impress at left-back when taking into consideration the poor form Cresswell is currently suffering from.
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Cullen oozed class last night in the central midfield role. The Irishman was composed on and off the ball. The academy product made three tackles, one interception and won four ground duals in the match as he bossed the midfield, making life very difficult for Charlton.
On the ball Cullen was equally impressive, the 24-year-old completed 92% of his passes. Cullen’s passes were not one dimensional either; he was accurate with 5/7 long balls, one of which was key to the Hammers opening goal.
Maybe not back to his best yet, but seeing Anderson grab a goal was great to see, it was an excellent finish too. After some tidy footwork from Manuel Lanzini, the Brazilian fired in the lay-off form eighteen yards out neatly into the corner of the goal.
Last season the Brazilian had to wait until January for his first goal of the season, this year it has taken two games. Anderson seems to rely on confidence, and now this must be as high as it would have been for a while, Moyes needs to back the winger and allow him to carry on.
It was not just the goal though, Anderson’s all-round game looked sharper and quicker. The winger was taking on players and looked far more comfortable with Masuaku behind them than he does with Cresswell.
Of course, it was only League one side, Charlton, that these players impressed against, but they can only play against the opposition that they are up against.