With the end of the season upon us, and West Ham United’s first season back in the big league nearly over, it’s fair to say that we have over achieved following expectations at the start of the season.
I think everyone would have accepted 17th and survival, however, with three games remaining, and I think a strong chance of us picking up seven points from these (wins against Newcastle and Reading, and a draw at Everton) West Ham could be in the top half of the table come the end of the season. So who has been vital to West Ham’s season, and who is the one player who has impressed everyone the most? Here are my contenders:
Winston Reid: Our new Mr Reliable is my choice this season. Reid has taken his form from the Championship last season and he has taken it to a new level. A cool head at the back, he is strong and efficient. He can play a bit too, he is good on the ball and his passing excellent. I can’t remember a moment this season where I have actually moaned about him!
I cannot believe he is the same player who arrived in England under Avram Grant, had a terrible debut away at Aston Villa and never really got a look in after that. But Reid is probably one of Big Sam’s first names on the team sheet. He has been brilliant all season, and would certainly be a worthy winner.
Jussi Jaaskelainen: When Sam Allardyce signed Jaaskelainen, I have to say, I was a bit concerned. He wasn’t a regular in the Bolton team last season, and at 37 years old (now 38), he was hardly a signing for the future was he? However, JJ has rolled back the years this season, and produced fine displays of shot stopping in most games.
His all round game has to be questioned, but there is no doubt his shot stopping has won us many points this season, and has kept 10 clean sheets in the process. I’m still not his biggest fan, but I have to say that he has been in fine form of late, and deserves a nomination.
Mark Noble: Some supporters are not a big fan of Noble, however, I think he is a vital cog in the centre of midfield and is also crucial to have at the club.
He is our longest serving player, a home grown talent, and he has been here through thick and thin. He has seen the highs of takeovers, and the lows of relegation. He has played with one of the best players our club has seen in Carlos Tevez and he has seen the worst in Benni McCarthy. On a footballing basis, he does the unglamorous stuff. His passing is excellent, unless it’s from a corner or free kick. He has good stamina, meaning we can rely on him to give 100% until the final whistle.
But he is also tenacious in the tackle and is quick to break up the play, and get stuck in. He is not the biggest player, but is the sort of player every team needs sat in front of the back four. He has had another consistent season for the Hammers, and the previous winner is in contention again.
Joey O’Brien: Joey is becoming a bit of a cult hero at West Ham. He is very much an unsung hero for us.
He has played in every position across the back four at some point this season, but you never see him moan about it, he just goes about his work, and get’s on with his job. He is not blessed with masses of footballing ability but what Joey gives us is a passionate performance. He gives 100% every week and has actually played very well too.
He is very professional and it’s his passion that West Ham supporters absolutely love about him. He has become a key member of the squad and I’m sure Joey would admit, that he probably didn’t expect to get another shot at the Premier League following his injury woes at Bolton Wanderers. I don’t think he’s done enough to win it, but he is certainly worth a mention.
Other players within the squad have not been consistent all season. Jarvis and Carroll are two players having a good end of season but have not done enough in my opinion to warrant beating the four players above.