Angelo Ogbonna demonstrated the extent to which he has been missed with a fine performance against Viborg in the second qualifying match in the Conference League. It would be too easy to become excessive over the performance remembering that Viborg were comfortably brushed aside over two games by Hammers line ups hardly thought to be our best.
But the Danes showed enough offensively to ensure that Oggy needed to be in very decent form to help keep them at bay at times and I am seriously looking forward to his availability for the forthcoming Premier League games.
He really has been badly missed on the left side of central defence since the injury against Liverpool last season where he was responsible for getting that side of midfield moving when appearing regularly.
Oggy has been outstanding over recent seasons and may indeed help Kurt Zouma to return to nearer his best after some worrying recent displays, notably since he was hit by Catgate.
Many may have been prepared to believe we may only see the 34-year-old now and again this season but he starts to look fully recovered at last. In offering him a new contract, the club has shown some grace and favour but I reckon they are going to be amply rewarded by the Italian international.
For me – despite the heroics of Craig Dawson last season, often playing through injury – Oggy remains the best of our central defenders. There was a time under Pellegrini when it looked as though he may be on his way but on his return to the team, he showed himself to be absolute class and there was never a word of complaint from the guy over his treatment.
Oggy is an ultimate professional whose presence throughout last season would probably have seen us back in the top six and into Europe. It could even have been in the top four! I’m backing him to make a huge difference to the squad this term.