Season Report Card: Kouyate to Snodgrass

Handing out the second and final instalment of annual report cards means that packing can now start for the summer holidays.

Report CardWe continue to hand out the end of season report cards in the second and final part of our rear-view mirror assessment of the workers and the shirkers from the recently concluded 2016/17 campaign.

Part one of the Season Report Card: Adrian to Fonte can be found here.

Subject

Remarks

Grade

Cheikhou Kouyate

Having now completed three seasons at the club, Cheikhou continues to bring power and athleticism to the midfield, attributes that are largely lacking elsewhere.  If he possessed a greater ability with the final ball he would undoubtedly be plying his trade on a bigger stage than the London Stadium by now.  One of the players that the manager has parcelled into the versatile category he has also been asked to play as part of a back three and as right back.  Whenever removed from the midfield his strong and forceful running is sorely missed.

B+

Manuel Lanzini

Starting the season as the sorcerer’s apprentice, Manuel has stepped firmly out of the shadows to blossom as the team’s principal play-maker, especially since his release from exile on the wing to a more central role.  Full of energy and always alert he takes up great positions and is excellent when running with the ball.  Some concerns on his decision making; when to shoot or pass but may be more of a reflection of the movement and options around him than a flaw in his own game.  Finished the season with eight league goals and recognition by his national side will likely see him on the radar of predator clubs.

A-

Arthur Masuaku

Initially signed as emergency cover for Cresswell’s early season injury, Arthur has just about thrown off the stigma of the unfathomable double handball incident at The Hawthorns.  Another player who has been blighted by a succession of injuries his mellow playing style has made him something of a burgeoning cult hero despite the limited number of games that he has played.  Looks excellent going forward but potentially vulnerable defensively.  His long term future at the club is likely to rest more on his fitness levels than his playing ability.

B-

Mark Noble

Affectionately known as ‘Mr West Ham’, Mark has experienced an indifferent season at the London Stadium.  Impossible to fault him for effort and is personally known to each and every blade of grass on the pitch. His downfall is that he struggles for pace and is frequently bypassed in hurly-burly of the midfield frenzy particularly when opponents have the ball.  Also has a tendency to slow the game down too much when in possession through a reliance on sideways and backwards passes.  Will obviously remain an important member of the squad but looks to have gone beyond his best before date as far as being a first team regular is concerned.

B-

Havard Nordtveit

Havard has found it difficult to settle in his new environment. Seen as a potential answer to the long running defensive midfield deficiency he failed to make an impact either in that role or when he has been asked to cover elsewhere.  Came with a strong reputation from his time in the Bundesliga but was unable to replicate that form in the Premier League, despite some improved performances at the tail end of the season.  Difficult to know whether he can yet adapt but an absence of pace suggests that it is unlikely.

D-

The Post

An ever present during the season, The Post came to prominence with a match winning performance against Hull City at the London Stadium in December.  Had the result of that match gone the other way it could have resulted in some very squeaky bum moments during the final run-in to the season.

B

Pedro Obiang

Overlooked and apparently out of favour for most of his first season at the club, Pedro was a revelation this term until injury sidelined him in the middle of March.  My personal pick for Hammer of the Year, he displays excellent work rate, outstanding ball-winning ability and a shrewd eye for picking out smart and telling passes.  Showed a lot of patience and made the most of his chance once it came along.  It would be no surprise if he was another on the radar of bigger clubs although injury may have thwarted that concern for the time being.  

 

A

Angelo Ogbonna

A strong left sided centre back who earned a place in West Ham folklore with a last minute headed winner against Liverpool in last season’s FA Cup.  Angelo’s second campaign at the club, however, was disrupted by surgery on a long standing injury.  For the most part a very competent defender although he has occasionally been prone to a loss of concentration or causal play that has had costly consequences.  We will need to wait and see the extent to which injury was impacting performance.

C+

Darren Randolph

A long time understudy for the keeper spot, Darren was called into centre stage following a string of eccentric displays by El Adrian.  Early performances were creditable even though his presence failed to prevent the goals against column clicking up with monotonous regularity.   A very good shot stopper but has never convinced in the air, a failing that instilled a sense of panic throughout the defence.  Had outstayed his welcome by some weeks before the gloves were eventually and rightly handed back to Adrian.

D

Winston Reid

Winston continues to be a stalwart at the heart of the Hammer’s defence even if, as a unit, this was far from impregnable this year.  Demonstrates excellent commitment to the cause, has solid defensive qualities and is never afraid to put himself on the line for the team.  His unremarkable distribution is possibly the one feature of his play that leaves him just outside the cadre of top central defenders in the league; we are very lucky to have him.  Rarely makes critical gaffes and has shown passion and leadership ability during his time as stand-in skipper.

A-

Diafra Sakho

In theory the most complete striker at the club, Diafra unfortunately spent the majority of the season as a regular in the treatment room, clocking up just 2 starts all term.  Together with Andy Carroll it is now impossible to rely on either of this pair for the long term with another breakdown always just around the corner.  Difficult to know with Sakho whether the problems are purely physical and the often reported relationship problems with the management do not auger well.  For one reason or another we may well have seen the last of him in a West Ham shirt.  

D

Robert Snodrass

For a player who has spent most of his career as a journeyman footballer in the limbo land between Premier League and Championship, Robert earned a surprise move to West Ham on the back of an impressive half of a season at Hull.  It should come as no surprise that his performances owed more to his humble past than to that most recent purple patch.  To be fair in his first few appearances he looked full of energy but quickly settled into a state of lethargy that wouldn’t be out of place in a moody teenager.  What anyone was thinking when sanctioning a fee in excess of £10 million for his services is one of the mysteries of the universe.

D-