Mitchell Hall > West Ham United’s two dips into the Czech football league this past year for the use of Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have become instant hits amongst the fan base, filling problem areas that had been pre-existing within the squad for many seasons. However, recently they have seemed to up their game even further, producing quite possibly their finest performances to date against an in-form Aston Villa.
The big man in the middle, Tomas Soucek, produced yet another goal to add to his tally, cementing himself as a truly impressive goalscoring midfielder with his 8th of this campaign, making him by far West Ham’s top scorer so far, second being Antonio and Bowen tied on five apiece. The Czech doesn’t stop running, and together with Declan Rice in the centre of the pitch they form the spine and engine of the team, winning balls and carrying them forward. Soucek’s 6’ 4” frame and immense heading ability, combined with a no nonsense, physical attitude to the game, provide one of the league’s most formidable aerial threats. Soucek’s contributions are key to West Ham’s statistical threat from set pieces this season, and equally provides Hammers some comfort when facing such a set piece from the other team.
Despite this clear strength, Soucek has also demonstrated an ability to score from open play as well, slotting away a cool finish into the bottom corner recently against Aston Villa, unphased by the tight angle and pressure from Villa defender Tyrone Mings. His versatility in attack and defence, his work rate in both aspects, as well as the variety in his scoring ability, make him a reliable and crucial part of this impressive squad. With his consistent goal output and defensive contribution, Soucek is quickly becoming a fan favourite and Hammer of the Year contender.
Moving to right back, Coufal produced an equally impressive display against Villa and throughout the season. The direct full back has been outstanding this season regarding his defending, effectively nullifying Jack Grealish to the point he was forced to change sides, surely the ultimate testament to Coufal’s attack stopping ability. He has become a wall along West Ham’s right side, with the squad’s highest number of tackles this year, whilst still contributing a healthy number of assists through his incessant work rate and at times surprising technical ability.
The pair are also some of the team’s more consistent performers, who just seem happy to get out on the pitch at any opportunity. Their stamina and drive combined with off pitch personalities make them many fan’s favourite players and contributed to the name of the legendary duo that is, the Czech mates. Supporters can most likely look forward to seeing them in action once more against Fulham, with both players having near spotless injury records thus far. The no nonsense workhorses of the squad will surely be key in carrying the team into the European places.