Parris: ‘Ward-Prowse is thriving as our assist king but Coufal’s crosses have been ace too’

Coufal has made better decisions going forward this season, and clocked up three assists in three games

Vladimir Coufal (WHU) at the West Ham United v Manchester City EPL match, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th September, 2023.

After our brilliant start to the season, September was a bit of a reality check for us with defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool. We played OK in both games but we didn’t take our chances, especially in our away game in Liverpool.

If you want to get results at places like Anfield, you have to take your chances. Top sides are going to have more possession, especially at home, and they will take any chances that fall their way. I felt we headed to both game with confidence but it’s still a work in progress for West Ham to go out and get results against these sides, as it is for most clubs.

You’ll get the occasional shock – like we saw earlier this month with Wolves beating Man City – but these are few and far between. You don’t become a top side otherwise. We followed these games though by getting the job done against Sheffield United, which was something we had to do.

In truth, we could’ve all gone home at half time. We’d done the damage in the first half and I felt there was no way they were going to score. Sheffield United were a really poor side but it was important that we got the result after not getting anything from our games against City and Liverpool.

Despite those two defeats, we’re still in a good spot in the league and we would’ve taken where we are at the moment before the start of the season. Speaking of Liverpool, the story dominating the news has been their disallowed goal against Spurs and it was embarrassing.

The whole point of bringing VAR in was for these decisions. The linesman had flagged for offside, but VAR should’ve ruled it was a goal. If VAR doesn’t work, then we might as well scrap it and go back to where we were before.

That goal would’ve put Liverpool ahead and who knows what the outcome would have been. It will be interesting to see what impact this game will have come the end of the season. It’ll also be interesting to see how this saga plays out because the apology issued doesn’t really wash for me.

I get that the law of the game is the issue and they couldn’t delay again once the game restarted but I think even the most hardened Spurs fan, if they knew what had happened, would have accepted it was a goal had they then awarded it. There needs to be clearer communication between the onfield ref and the VAR. That’s where the confusion was because nobody mentioned onside or offside. This error cannot happen again.

Speaking of mistakes, Ogbonna’s error in our Europa League game was an absolute disaster for him. I was relieved we were able to go on and win that game. I’ve been in that situation myself and we all have moments like this in our careers, people will always make mistakes, you just hope you don’t have too many of them.

You also hope that when you make an error like that, that someone else helps you out but Fabianski wasn’t able to stop their striker from scoring. You know when a goalkeeper makes a mistake that it’s usually always a goal but whenever any player makes a mistake, you just hope it’s not in a big game, or a tight game, or is a mistake that impacts the final result.

With our Europa League games and League Cup trip to Lincoln, we’ve seen Fabianski back in goal for West Ham and he’s put in some good performances. We’ve known for a while now that we’ve got two great goalkeepers, but for me, Areola deserved his chance this season and he really has, pardon the pun, grasped it with two hands.

I don’t think there can be any qualms about him being our number one right now with the saves he’s made and performances. Long may that continue. We’ve also got to see more of Mohammed Kudus recently and there’s definitely a feeling that Moyes is adopting a softly softly approach to integrating him.

But I think he could prove to be a good player for us based on what I’ve seen so far. Whilst Kudus is an emerging talent, it has also been great to see how well James Ward-Prowse and Alvarez have slotted in to the team.

With the quality of his delivery, fans expect great things whenever Ward-Prowse gets the chance to whip in a corner or free kick, or if it’s a free kick where he can score from himself. And when you look at what Ward-Prowse and Alvarez have brought to the party since Rice’s departure, I think we have had the best of it.

Both have helped give us more life going forward and also enabled players like Soucek to get back to what he does best, crashing into the box at the right time. I think Paqueta has continued the good form from last season and it’s been great to see Bowen scoring, he’s on fire.

It’s funny with football when you go through hard times and can’t do anything right and then go through other spells where you can’t do anything wrong. I’ve also really been impressed with Coufal getting forward so far this season. He has made better decisions, made some good crosses and clocked up three assists in three games.

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