Season Report Card: Adrian to Fonte

It’s that time of year to collect the yearly report before breaking up for the summer holidays.

Report CardNow that the season is finally over we hand out report cards before the players head off to the Med for a well earned rest break from the rigours of the Premier League.  As they sit around the pool sipping Pina Coladas we hope that they can take a little time to think long and hard about their respective performances.

Subject

Remarks

Grade

Adrian

Starting the season as the team’s obvious Number 1 and on the fringes of his national side, Adrian has experienced a turbulent year.  Competent in the air and as a shot stopper his weakness has been in trying to develop flamboyance in the style of Claudio Bravo.  Not as good at ball control or dribbling as he thinks, despite his Mark Noble testimonial goal, he was understandably dropped after conceding a number of poor goals due to a lack of concentration or a rush of blood.  His exile was longer than necessary before eventually reclaiming the gloves and helping stabilise the defence towards the end of the season.  Longer term tenure will depend on competing transfer priorities.

C

Michail Antonio

Michail continued to develop as an important member of the team this season and was a worthy Hammer of the Year winner.  An early flurry of goals looked like it might threaten the current West Ham Premier League record of sixteen set by Paolo Di Canio in 1999/2000.  However, a dip in form, being asked to play in almost every outfield position – sometimes in the same match – and finally a season ending injury put paid to that dream.  Demonstrates energy, pace, power, commitment and adaptability.  Looks most effective playing out wide on the right but the manager appear to have other ideas.

A

Andre Ayew

It is still difficult to pinpoint exactly where Andre’s best position is or how to accommodate him into a team formation.  The club record signing tag is something of a millstone around his neck and may explain his lack of pace.  Still to convince from a value for money standpoint although his early season was badly disrupted by injury.  Has a knack of being in the right place to score the simple tap-in and also to scorn them as witnessed with the stunning double miss against Liverpool.   A panic arrival last summer could he be a panic departure this one?

C-

Sam Byram

Youthful looks and a ‘Beaker’ hairstyle belie Sam’s age and experience and he needs to convert potential to performance some time soon.  With the exception of Alvaro Arbeloa (who spent the majority of his time with the club on the naughty step) Sam was the only specialist right back in the squad and yet was unable to command a regular spot.  A number of factors may have contributed to this lack of game time including injuries, suspensions and managerial stubbornness in addition to his on-field contribution.  With the probable arrival of Zabaleta in the summer options for next season could be limited unless the West Ham injury curse strikes once again.

C

Jonathan Calleri

Sadly Jonathan was way out his depth in the Premier League and possibly even for one or two divisions below that.  Sending Enner Valencia out on loan and then bringing him in as a replacement is one of the great mysteries of the season.  From his early miss against Bournemouth he resembled a startled deer caught in the headlights whenever presented with a goal-scoring opportunity.  To his credit he did work hard during the later stages of the season but effort alone does not cut it in the self-proclaimed best league in the world.  A sad indictment of the club’s organisation and planning is that we had to put up with him as the only striking option for so long.

D-

Andy Carroll

Andy’s attendance has once again let him down this season.  Reputed to be unplayable, this is not supposed to be because he is always in the treatment room.  Undoubted aerial strength in both attack and defence is not matched by an equal ability on the deck and his deployment as a lone striker, with service that generally fails to play to his strengths, invariable leads to a one-dimensional style of play.  A brief spell of fullish fitness did, nonetheless, coincide with the team’s most profitable run of games during which time he scored one of the finest goals of this and many other seasons.    

C+

James Collins

The Welsh Braveheart, James can never be accused of not giving his all, apart from when he let Coutinho waltz past to score a few weeks ago.  Will always offer 100% effort, commitment and determination even if he lacks some of the finer technical skills.  Is also prone to what Harry would call the ‘occasional ricket’.  Famous for his brave last ditch blocks and tackles which, ironically, are often in situations of his own making.  With the ball at his feet there is nothing as final and definitive as a James Collins clearance and he can be relied on for the occasional goal.  Has been and can continue to be a useful emergency replacement but there really should be better, younger alternatives available.  

B-

Aaron Cresswell

It has been a topsy-turvy season for Aaron.  Having missed the early weeks due to injury, his welcome return coincided with a brief uptick in form and resulted in an international call-up, which was ultimately far from convincing.  Has operated as a conventional full back and as a wing back with attacking play usually his major strength.  His best performances came when combining with the now departed Payet and he struggled to regain that form in the later stages of the season.  Nevertheless he has recently once again be called into the England squad.

 

C+

Sofiane Feghouli

The capture of Sofiane against stiff competition was billed as something of a coup by those aiming to sell season tickets.  A lively start to his career in east London was hampered by injury and since then he has adopted a Jekyll and Hyde persona; in that he was shocking all year up until the last two games where he experienced a reawakening.  Overall gave the impression of a winger unable to go past a defender or to deliver a decent cross.  Perhaps there is the prospect of more better to come if only the real Sofiane Feghouli could please stand up.

 

D+

 

Edmilson Fernandes

Potentially the diamond in the rough of what wasthe debacle of last summer’s transfer dealings, Edmilson has the air of a very assured, controlled and intelligent footballer with an excellent range of passing.  Was given relatively few opportunities and was asked to play a number of different roles when he did eventually get onto the pitch.  The challenge will be how and where to enjoy the best of his talents as he is not best suited for the more defensive midfield duties.  May need to work on the physical side of his game in order to continue development in the frenzy of the Premier League.

B

Ashley Fletcher

Ashley has been the ‘nearly man’ of the West Ham squad having spent much of his time on the bench but making only two Premier League starts.  Otherwise it has largely been brief run-outs as an 85th minute substitute. Has shown some very nice touches but there are question-marks over his strength and pace.  Has looked to lack confidence on occasions but then who wouldn’t if overlooked regularly in favour of Jonathan Calleri.

D+

Jose Fonte

January signing Jose came with a big reputation from Southampton but has blown hot and cold during his time in the claret and blue.  Has looked strong and stable (where have I heard that before?) in the air but is exposed by young, pacey forwards.  The rationale for buying a 33 year old was heavily debated and was mitigated to some extent by the news of Angelo Ogbonna’s injury and surgery.  However, alongside James Collins and the imminently arriving Zabaleta the defence has a Dad’s Army feel to it that is more usually associated with Stoke City.  Don’t Panic!

C+

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