Written by : Jack O’Flaherty
What a result! After the win against Manchester United, it seems like the team is really starting to click – creating the best performance we’ve seen in a very long time. Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena continue to strengthen their partnership at the back, Mark Noble was brilliant and Marko Arnautovic continues to prove he is arguably our most important player.
A stat not lost on us Hammers is that since the start of 2018, only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has had a hand in more Premier League goals (24) than Marko Arnautovic at 17, with 10 goals and 7 assists. For a player labelled a flop when he first arrived, that’s pretty remarkable.
Saturday’s victory epitomised what Arnautovic is all about. He provides a focal point to how we play, an outlet at the top to feed into his feet, head or over the top to use his pace to run onto. United simply couldn’t deal with it. Marko played a near perfect game and topped it off with a smart finish past De Gea. I have not felt this confident about a striker in our team since Dean Ashton; a player to rely on to provide options both in front of goal and also during the build-up play.
Despite this, there is one worry about Marko; his attitude. It was well known that he had a real commitment problem at Stoke. Charlie Adam even voiced on ‘5 live’ that when it wasn’t going well he struggled to put in the effort. This is something I fear could happen with us if results don’t go our way. Afterall, Arnautovic is a player whose form is heavily related to the team’s form, as well as the fans opinions of him. If either of those begin to slip, then his form could do the same.
In spite of this, he may have turned a corner. Under Moyes last season we were in real trouble and it was Arnautovic form and goals that played a huge part in dragging us to safety. In addition to this, the fans know how important he is to the team and how he can change a game for us, so I think it would take something big for the fans to start to get on his back.
As it stands, we’re lucky to have this key man on our team. Marko’s attributes and form will be a massive part of how well we do this season as we look to push on from our poor start.
If he plays well, we play well – so we’re all backing him to help deliver a season to remember.