Antonio was a vital part of West Ham’s success last year – and established himself as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Premier League top goalscorers.
In August, he became our top scoring player in the Premier League era, surpassing Paolo Di Canio’s previous record when he bagged a brace against Leicester City.
Now, after going on to nab his 50th league goal, he’s got his sights set on a bigger target – a whopping 100 goals in the Premier League.
Since then it’s been a bit of an up and down ride for Antonio when it comes to grabbing goals, but can the striker turn it all around and score a monumental 100 goals?
Antonio sure thinks he can, as he revealed in BBC Sounds’ The Footballer’s Football Podcast. ‘As soon as you get one milestone you got to reach for the next. Getting to 50 goals is unbelievable because so many people play and don’t reach there,’ he said.
‘It’s a great achievement, especially for me as I started playing at right back. I’m now pushing for that 100 zone. I want to get that tonne. Why can’t I achieve it?’
In August, you’d have thought the sky was the absolute limit for Antonio and that 100 goals would be a simple task for him.
But it’s been more challenging of late for Antonio to get not just to 100 goals, but to get to even one goal.
With a run of bad form and the only positive being the result of his COVID test, it’s not been a great build up to the festive period for West Ham’s affable striker Michail Antonio.
After the Tottentham game, Antonio went eight league games without a goal – although he did manage to grab an assist in West Ham’s 3-2 win against Chelsea.
More worrying than the lack of goals was that Antonio looked like a ghost of the powerhouse that drove us to the top of the table earlier on in the year.
He looked lethargic and lost, and wasn’t clicking on the ball to drive chances goalwards – and our points tally suffered as a result.
He then missed the Carabao Cup loss against Spurs as he tested positive for COVID, but he looked refreshed in his return against Southampton and did manage to get back on the scoresheet in the home loss against them.
In the 4-1 win at Watford, he looked like the Antonio of old and was instrumental in getting us back on track and back to winning ways with an assist.
After all, one goal-drought swallow does not make a dry summer, and Antonio’s goal-drought is likely to be a blip on an otherwise outstanding year.
He’s made it into BBC’s Garth Crooks’ 2021 team of the year, with the football analyst saying that ‘West Ham look a different team with him in the side and to have written yourself into the club’s record books alongside the likes of Di Canio is to his enormous credit.’
At 31, Michail’s got to be quick if he wants to get in the record books for 100 goals. His first 50 goals took place over a six year period, and if it’ll take the same time again we’d be looking at a 37-year-old striker taking to the pitch in 2027 – which isn’t the most likely scenario.
However, he spent some of his previous six West Ham years in defensive and wing positions, so playing as a true striker should help speed his quest along.
He’s certainly determined to do it – and in typical Antonio fashion, he’s planned the celebration well in advance of the milestone.
He celebrated his West Ham record for 50 goals in a memorable way – with a cardboard cutout of himself waiting in the wings for him to lift up over his head in Dirty Dancing fashion.
For his 100th goal, he’s planning something a little more risque – he’s said that he ‘plans to strip and run round with his shorts and top off after goal number 100 goes in’.
He continued: ‘I’ll take that yellow card. Doesn’t matter what stage of the game it is, I’m doing it. I know I get too carried away, but I love every goal. Every goal I’ve scored is like the first goal I’ve ever scored.’
With a passion like that for scoring, Michail might as well reach for the stars – and the fans will be cheering him on every goal of the way until he hits 100.
After all, in his own words, ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it’.