Player Grades From West Ham’s Exhilarating Season Opener

Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) /

West Ham United traveled to St. James Park to take on Newcastle in their Premier League opener today.

The Hammers started off looking pretty sluggish in the first half but came out of halftime looking like a new team. Down 2-1, the Irons prevailed to win the game 4-2. Let’s look at how each West Ham player performed individually.

Lukasz Fabianski – 6/10: Fabianski faced three shots on goal and saved one, but he couldn’t have done much about the other two. Both goals came from crossed that was headed in, but poor defending is the blame for that. Fab came out nicely for a couple of crosses in the second half.

Vladimir Coufal – 7/10: Vlad had a decent game today. The whole defense looked a bit shaky, especially in the first half, but I would say Coufal was the best of the bunch. Like most of the rest of the team, Vlad looked much better in the second half. He made some great overlapping runs that are key to the spacing in the Irons attacks.

Craig Dawson – 4/10: Today was a rough match for Dawson. He got caught sleeping on the first goal and let Callum Wilson sneak by him for the first goal. It didn’t get much better than that either, as Alan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson ran circles around him. It was a forgettable day for the experienced center back.

Player Grades From West Ham’s Exhilarating Season Opener

Angelo Ogbonna – 6/10: A bit of a surprise today to see the Italian defender in the lineup. It was unknown if he would play today, having picked up a knock in the preseason. He warmed into the game today, but you could tell he looked slightly off the pace. Neither goals were at fault for him, so a decent first came back for Ogbonna.

Aaron Cresswell – 6/10: Cress was partially at fault for the first goal as his poor touch led to Newcastle regaining possession in a dangerous spot. He made up for it through the evening game at 1-1 with his low-driven cross sneaking in untouched at the back post. Saint-Maximin was exploiting that left-hand side of Cress, leading to an average day on the pitch for the left-back.

Tomas Soucek – 7/10: Soucek had a pretty quiet game today until the penalty came. Tom was the quickest to react to the saved penalty finishing off the loose ball to give the Hammers their first lead of the game. It was a  solid first game of the season for the Czech International.

Declan Rice – 8/10: Once again, Declan shows how good he is for West Ham. Coming out in the first half, he looked a little tired, but he was a monster in the midfield after halftime. Dec got much more into the game-winning the ball back countless times and starting multiple counterattacks. He also played some lovely passes into the final third as he was involved in the attack a lot more in the second half.

Player Grades From West Ham’s Exhilarating Season Opener

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Jarrod Bowen – 8/10: Bowen continued his great preseason form today, an integral part of our attacks. While he didn’t register an assist or goal, don’t let that make you think he didn’t play well. His one solo run in the first half would’ve surely been a contender for goal of the month, but he could not get it past the keeper—excellent performance for Jarrod today.

Pablo Fornals – 9/10: The Spanish maestro proved again to everyone how key he is to the Hammer’s success. Pablo finished the day with one assist coming from Cresswell’s goal, but his performance deserved more than that. He won a penalty in the second half that led to the Irons’ goal in the lead. He was running play in the final third with his superb vision helping play some key passes. It was between him and Saïd for my man of the match today. Overall, a fantastic first game of the season for Fornals.

Saïd Benrahma – 9/10: As I just hinted at, Benrahma is my man of the match for the match today. He was looking to get in behind all game and was finally rewarded in the second half as he met Antonio’s cross at the back post to head it in. Later in the game, he got the ball on the counter and played a beautiful pass into Antonio, who finished it to seal the comeback at 4-2. A goal and an assist to start the new campaign for our Algerian wizard.

Michail Antonio – 8/10: If you want to watch a game that perfectly sums up Michail Antonio, then rewatch this one. Only Antonio could go through many ups and downs in one game and finish with a goal and an assist. It started with a nice cross to assist Benrahma’s header. Then a fizzed cross that looked like it came straight off Antonio’s face onto the post. Shortly after that, he had a penalty saved that Soucek tapped in off the miss. And to top it all off, he scored from a very nice shot to put us up 4-2. At the end of the day, it was a great game for our new number nine.

Next. Epic comeback completes West Ham victory on opening day. dark

Substitutes: None of the subs came on early enough to warrant a grade, but I’ll just list them here. Ryan Fredericks replaced Saïd Benrahma in the 88th minute. In the 90th minute, Andriy Yarmolenko came on for Jarrod Bowen. The final sub was Ben Johnson coming on for Michail Antonio in the 93rd minute. Great feeling to start the season with a win! Come On You Irons!