Blowing Bubbles writers James Jones, Lucy Woolford, David Bowden, David Meagher, Meirion Williams, Brian Penn, Holly Worthington help us choose our End of Season award winners
Player of the Year: Marko ArnautovicEmbed from Getty Images
James Jones: Believe it or not there were, for me, a couple of contenders but I think it has to got to Arnie for the way he overcame a difficult start to become by far our best player.
Lucy Woolford: For being the player who’s made the most difference to the squad and has put a bit of spark back into the club, it’s Marko Arnautovic. He turned things around for himself after a stupid red card and listened to his critics. He’s a player to enjoy watching.
David Bowden: Marko Arnautovic quickly went from zero to hero, and without him, put simply, we’d be preparing for Championship football next season.
David Meagher: Marko Arnautovic. In a season of much disappointment and chaos, Marko emerged as our go-to man. He came from Stoke as a left-sided attacker with a reputation for being ‘inconsistent’ but has blossomed in a looser Di-Canio type role up front – a comparison that I don’t use lightly! His 11 goals saved our season.
Meirion Williams: There has to be just one winner of this award and it has to be Marko. What a transformation! At the start of the season I thought we had bought a dud, but he came to define everything that was good in our season.
Brian Penn: Marko Arnautovic. I don’t feel anyone has come close to him this season. When he’s on the ball you can see defenders visibly panicking; his unpredictability makes him a threat and potential match winner. Arnie already has cult status and will soon be appearing on a tattoo near you.
Holly Worthington: Arnautovic! It goes without saying but he saved our season and pushed through to prove himself as one of the Premier League’s best performing players. I daren’t think where we’d be right now without his performances this season
Young Player: Declan RiceEmbed from Getty Images
JJ: Declan Rice. This one was obvious. What a breakthrough season for Dec, he’s got such a bright future ahead of him. A future West Ham captain in the making.
LW: Declan Rice. He’s still only 19 and has made strides in the Premier League and on the International stage. All right, he’s not the finished article, but he seems calm and collected and will learn so much in the years ahead of him.
DB: Cool, composed and already tipped to captain his adopted country and his club, it can only be Declan Rice.
DM: Declan Rice. Twenty seven Premier League appearances and being capped by his country says it all but his maturity in bouncing back from poor performances against Newcastle and Arsenal suggest that we may well have the new Billy Bonds on our hands!
MW: A no brainer in my eyes with Declan Rice being the clear winner. He has grown with every performance, it’s hard to believe that he is still a teenager.
BP: Declan Rice. In an age when managers are less likely to give youngsters a chance, Ricey has firmly established himself in the squad playing in a variety of positions. But for the odd lapse he has delivered some highly polished performances. The long term replacement for Mark Noble methinks.
HW: It has to be Rice. Making his debut on the final day of last season, he’s established himself as one of the starting 11. He’s come back stronger after making mistakes and has even proven himself on an international level at Ireland. I can’t wait to see what next season holds for him
Goal of the season: Pedro Obiang v Tottenham Hotspur (A)Embed from Getty Images
MW: Although probably the most important goal was Mark Noble’s at Leicester I would have to give the goal of the season to Pedro Obiang against Spurs. It was beyond belief and well worth that trip to Wembley. Loved the way it silenced the home support.
BP: Pablo Obiang’s goal against Spurs in the Premier League; a sweetly struck long range effort under the lights at Wembley. It had everything; technique, power and the wow factor.
HW: It has to be Obiang’s screamer against Spurs. Out of the blue, an unbelievable finish and best of all… against Spurs.
JJ: I could’ve gone for Obiang’s v Spurs but Noble’s against Leicester pips it for me, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nobes hit a ball so well in my entire life. What a goal.
LW: Mark Noble away to Leicester. Obiang so nearly clinched it, but Mark’s goal was a moment in time that just meant so much to him and to the club. It was a stunning strike and one that will be hard to beat for him.
DM: Nobes versus Leicester just edges Pedro Obiang versus Spurs. Both were scored at crucial moments but Noble’s strike was possibly the best Hammers goal in a decade? Sublime!
DB: For the sheer shock factor, Mark Noble’s wonder strike against Leicester given the importance of the encounter for Nobes to come up with that was quite stupendous
Best Team Performance: Against Southampton (3-0 H)Embed from Getty Images
JJ: 3-0 v. Southampton. Not just because of the scoreline but because of the importance of getting the win and the way the team reacted after what happened in the previous home game v Burnley. It was this performance that convinced me we’ll stay up.
LW: Surprisingly, there are a few to choose from including our games at home against Huddersfield and Chelsea, and away to Stoke and Spurs (in the League Cup). I’d have to go with the home performance against Southampton though. An important game and a strong performance to seal the deal before half time.
DB: Southampton at home. Considering the tension around the ground, especially after what happened in the last home game against Burnley, this was a performance full of character and class. Two wonder goals and a match we truly dominated, how often have we been able to say that at the London Stadium?
HW: The game against Southampton. There’s nothing better than a clear win, three goals when we needed it most against a relegation rival and especially after such a troublesome game before!
DM: 2-0 away against Leicester. This was a key game for us and although they were in end-of-season mode, we battered them with our intensity. The wins at home to Southampton (March) and away to Huddersfield (Jan) also stood out but Leicester away had that Noble goal!
MW: A close one this as there were three stand out games; Spurs in the cup and Huddersfield away were both great overall performances but the winner for me is the away game against Leicester. It was such an important result and although the home team were pretty poor, the magnitude of the game for us was huge and after a horrendous season it showed a united team determined to put the past behind it. The traveling support was outstanding too.
BP: Turning around a 2-0 deficit against Spurs in the League Cup takes some beating. Best league performance was beating Huddersfield 4-1 away. It was a six-pointer and we really needed to dig in; symbolically the game was a turning point and statement of intent
Best Individual performance: Marko Arnautovic v Southampton (3-0 H)Embed from Getty Images
JJ: Marko Arnautovic v Stoke City and v. Southampton. He stepped up in both of these games just when we needed him most. Two match-winning performances against Mark Hughes’ teams, which definitely wasn’t a coincidence.
BP: Arnautovic again. He was sensational in the home game against Southampton scoring two goals in a 3-0 win. He tied their defenders in knots and could have played them all by himself. It also broke a run of three heavy defeats and was the perfect antidote to the Burnley debacle.
HW: My favourite is Arnie’s performance against Southampton. Making a point against Mark Hughes, he got his brace and showed his passion for West Ham. What a legend!
LW: Arnautovic away at Stoke. It was a passion-fuelled performance. He had a point to prove and he did most of his talking with his feet. He did everything he could that day to show what Stoke were missing.
DB: Marko Arnautovic vs Stoke – The real moment that the Austrian enter the hearts of the West Ham faithful, a potentially difficult day at the office against his former employers turned into a stroll in the park as he produced a dominant display to silence the Potters’ faithful and truly prove he made the right decision to move down south.
DM: Marko Arnautovic versus Huddersfield. It was like watching Di Canio on a good day as, with the help of Manuel Lanzini, he absolutely terrorised their defence. This is a partnership that can thrive under Pellegrini!
MW: I have to look back at that away game in Huddersfield and although Lanzini got all the plaudits with his two goals it was Arnautovic who was the catalyst for everything good, he was virtually unplayable. The Terriers defence just couldn’t handle him, a great day out and a great performance by our star man