Rocky Start Doesn’t Derail West Ham Win or Player Grades

West Ham players celebrating Ryan Fredericks' goal. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
West Ham players celebrating Ryan Fredericks' goal. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /

West Ham overcame a disjointed opening period to eventually steamroll a toothless Sheffield team, with plenty of players worthy of individual praise. Here are the Hammers’ player grades from their latest performance.

Lukasz Fabianski – 10/10: Sheffield United managed five shots on goal with three really testing Fabianski, but the Polish keeper stood tall and made some terrific saves in his clean sheet performance. His claims were good and thrown deliveries even better to spark the counter.

Vladimir Coufal – 8/10: Always running, always getting involved in the attack, and always seemingly popping up with a solid chance to score, the right-wingback was very sharp in this match. His only fault was not slotting his wonderful chance home for his first goal.

Issa Diop – 7/10: Before the second half kicked off this would have been much lower, but Diop really grew into this match and his goal was the cherry on top. His passing got better, his positioning got better, his presence and movement got better, all while playing this match out. Strong growth for the centre-back.

Craig Dawson – 9/10: West Ham needed a leader to step up with Angelo Ogbonna out and Dawson did just that. He was terrific in the air and cut out so many attacks from Sheffield on corners and set pieces. Truly heroic today.

Aaron Cresswell – 8/10: A bit of a quiet night with all things considered, but a clockwork delivery found Issa Diop for the second goal and just like that another goal contribution gets added to his tally. He was more reserved as a CB but was very good today.

Ben Johnson – 8/10: The youngster keeps getting better and better; West Ham may have really found a gem in Ben Johnson. From terrific runs up the sideline, to crucial tackles and pressures on the defensive side, Johnson is getting better every time he plays.

West Ham’s win over Sheffield United launches them to fourth in the Premier League table.

Declan Rice – 10/10: Another bossing midfield performance from Rice in this match with the West Ham captain shielding his defenders and pulling his team’s string admirably. His penalty goal was his first of the season and the team’s first penalty, one he rightfully took over lurking teammates.

Tomas Soucek – 7/10: A few errant passes were the loan dark spots on Soucek’s performance with the Czech robot providing his usual solid showing for the Irons. No striker meant more hard yards up and down the pitch, but he was very good as per usual.

Jarrod Bowen – 7/10: Still no luck for Bowen on the goal sheet but it was a very good performance on the right flank by the English winger. He was unlucky to not pounce on a chance that Phil Jagielka was lucky to recover on. His speed is killer and work rate irreplaceable.

Jesse Lingard – 8/10: Before the goals started pouring in Lingard was the man of the match by a mile. He created the penalty for Rice’s goal and was pouring forward on the counterattack constantly. He was class with his shots from range, too, proving a shrewd bit of business getting him in this January.

Manuel Lanzini – 4/10: A very disappointing performance for the birthday boy who had a surprise start over Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma in this match. He never instigated, was slow with his movements, and his first touch was explosive on benign touches. Sad showing.


All three substitutes were made by David Moyes in this game, urging West Ham forward with fresh legs looking to impact play going forward. An unlikely player to add into the mix to do so was Mark Noble in the 62nd minute for Lanzini, but his presence allowed Soucek to stay forward more and settled the team down centrally.

The second change was Said Benrahma being introduced in the 82nd minute for Jesse Lingard who ran himself into the ground in this great performance. Benrhama would go on to assist the third and final goal of the game off the boot of the last sub, Ryan Fredericks in the 96th minute, just four minutes after being introduced.

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West Ham overcame a very nervy start to the match where they were unable to breakdown the wide midfield of Sheffield United. Solid counterattacking football opened up the Blades and saw the Hammers take the fourth spot in the table.