There’s some players that are always expected to produce an impressive performance and there are others that are seen as inevitably ‘below par’. However there are also some players who are seen as being amongst the latter category whose impressive performances regularly slip under the radar. One player who would be seen by many as ‘inadequate’ is Matthew Taylor.
The 32 year old midfielder has not been particularly impressive when it comes to goals and assists since joining West Ham in July 2011. Taylor has scored just three goals in his West Ham career, including a stint in the Championship- hardly a prolific record. So far this season, he has a goal and an assist, both in the Capital One Cup. Overall, certainly not impressive reading. However, in a side which has hardly been in full scoring form, it is hardly surprising that a sporadic first team player has yet to directly contribute to a goal in the Premier League.
Matt Taylor has recently become a player of choice for Big Sam and Taylor has started the five Premier League games before the Villa game, in which West Ham’s form has certainly increased, with two wins (Cardiff and Swansea) and an away draw versus Chelsea. Of course the contribution on these results from the return of Andy Carroll is not to be taken lightly. Regardless, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Matt Taylor has been involved in West Ham’s best run of the season.
In an extremely tough position in the league and with a subsequent relegation battle on the cards, you can have all the technical ability in the world and get nothing in a game. That is why Big Sam has recently opted for Matthew Taylor, and rightly so. Taylor will most certainly give you 100% and put himself around the pitch for 90 minutes.
You can look at any statistic for Matty Taylor and be disappointed, but not many players with higher levels of technical ability will put in anywhere near the amount of effort that Taylor will. I’ll repeat, that is much needed in a relegation battle. In a midfield with Mark Noble, 200% effort is a regular occurrence. It’s not purely Taylor’s effort, but also his fight for the cause and his willingness to put his body on the line.
He is averaging just over one block a game. You may suggest that around 85% of those shots will be on target and any number of those could have ended up in the back of the net. With 10 league appearances, Taylor has quite possibly saved West Ham many goals by putting his body on the line. Is it plausible to call Matthew Taylor an unsung hero? I’m not sure.
He certainly deserves more credit than he gets, which I guess is the definition of an unsung hero. However, Taylor is destined to be under the radar as without contribution of goals as a midfielder, you’ll always be relatively unnoticed. That doesn’t mean that West Ham fans can’t/won’t appreciate what he is doing for our club. He may not be as exciting to watch as Ravel Morrison and Mo Diame, but is that really what is needed during the scrap of a relegation battle?