Fringe players stepping up for West Ham

At the start of the season, you would have been forgiven for expecting West Ham to have sold off more players than the nine players they did.

Throughout the transfer window, West Ham were actively trying to sell some of their high-earners. Players like Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini, Arthur Masuaku, Robert Snodgrass and Fabian Balbuena were expected to leave to make way for new blood.

Instead, the club could not find any takers due to their wage demands forcing them into the sale of Grady Diangana. The lack of success during the transfer window was a worry for Hammers fans,  who, along with David Moyes, were hoping to see a ‘big-money‘ defender arrive.

At the moment, however, the players who were expected to leave have stepped up and given the slimline squad a new look. Yarmolenko, Lanzini and Snodgrass were all substitutes for last nights match against Tottenham. All of them made a crucial contribution to the club’s historic comeback.

Yarmolenko played in Vladimir Coufal. The Czech was able to put in his dangerous cross, which found its way into the goal, via the head of Davinson Sanchez. Yarmolenko also made a crucial challenge on Gareth Bale in the 90th minute while the score was 3-2 to Spurs. Without this pressure, Bale surely would have scored and wrapped up the points for the home side.

Lanzini managed to score the best goal of his career in the 94th minute to bring West Ham level in dramatic fashion. With seconds left on the clock, the ball came to the Argentine 30-yards out. Lanzini showed brilliant technique, cutting across the ball sent it spinning and looping over Hugo Lloris.

The goal was Lanzini’s first in competitive football since the final day of the 2018/19 season. If Lanzini can put his injury demons behind himself and recapture his best form, Moyes will have a brilliant selection of attackers to choose from.

See the goal for yourself if you haven’t already.

In the defence, Masuaku and Balbuena were both error-prone last season, but in Moyes’ new system have found themselves making crucial contributions. Masuaku has become one of the most important players in the wing-back system. Furthermore, Balbuena is starting to perform as he did in his first season when he formed a solid partnership with Issa Diop.

Aaron Cresswell is another player that could have been on his way out of at least the first-team. Hitting 30-years-old and losing his pace, Cresswell was becoming a liability in the backline. But since his shift to left-centre-back, he has been revitalised.

With the extra protection, he has from Masuaku and Angelo Ogbonna his defensive frailties are not on show. This has allowed Cresswell a freer role to get forward and send in balls from deep which is become a key weapon for West Ham.

Despite the off-field issues at the club, on the pitch, there is a lot of positives happening. The Hammers are currently 8th in the Premier League and could be set to have their best season in the London Stadium to date.