Hugh put the cat among the pigeons last night when handing Mark Noble a 4 out of 10 and some barbed words for his performance against Wolves. Some asked why he hated the skipper when in fact he loves him and all he’s done for this club and all that’s to come. Ratings are based on performances – nothing else. CandH bloggers former Hammer Ray Stewart – who loved his performance, Allen Cummings and senior sports reporter Dave Langton were keen to give their views so tonight here is the CandH Noble debate.
By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings
Nothing short of brilliant at times – gritty and determined at others – incredibly nail-biting at the end. West Ham’s win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux last night was all of those things wrapped up in 90+ minutes of pulsating football.
But then as Hammers fans we have experienced all of those things before over the years – it goes with the territory. But for me what showed through most of all was the amazing team spirit David Moyes has instilled in his side.
Every last man that took to the field last night prepared to work his socks off for each other. All for one and one for all!
I’m not sure Declan Rice got the ‘rest’ he was meant to be getting, sat at home instead of being out there with his team mates, as he watched the events unfold. I’m certain he must have been kicking every ball. I only hope he was doing it with his ‘good leg’ and not his injured one!
Declan showed his delight after the game with his ‘tweet’! But it also illustrated his frustration at what he obviously sees as unnecessary criticism of club skipper Mark Noble.
We’re all entitled to our opinion and our say – and Declan is no different – why should he be – and I’m delighted he took to social media to do it. Mark Noble has divided opinion with certain West Ham fans right throughout his career, and that shows no sign of abating as he enters the final furlongs.
The mere sight of his name on the team sheet seems enough to infuriate some. I get the fact that he’s not to everyone’s taste. He’s clearly no Declan Rice that’s for sure – never was even in his heyday – and I’m sure he would be the first to agree to that.
But he’s given everything for this club, and will continue to do so until he finally hangs up his boots.
Like it or not his name is going to feature on Moyes’ team sheet in the next few weeks – more than it probably would have done had Declan not got injured. It won’t suit everyone – but it suits the manager, and at the end of the day his is the opinion that matters.
He clearly has faith that the club captain can do the job required for the team. And that’s exactly what Nobes will do – his job for the team. I really don’t see what benefit it will be to greet his every inclusion with such negative vibes.
Why put a damper on what, even if it ends now, has been an unbelievable season for us all?
Let’s reserve judgement on what we actually see – then criticise if it’s warranted – or praise if it’s required. That surely has to be the fairest way.
It’s not his fault but….
By CandH’s senior reporter Dave Langton
Let’s say this at the start: It isn’t Mark Noble’s fault.
The Hammers star is a legend. He’s one of the greatest players the club have ever had. He’s been with the club through thick and thin, and we all know it’s been plenty thin in recent years.
He’s 33 and he is nowhere near the level of either Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek. We know this. Nobody has ever said that he isn’t.
But we’ve got to say this now: Noble isn’t good enough.
Last night, against Wolves, the absence of Declan was keenly felt. Wolves had 20 shots on goal. They also had 66.1% possession, per WhoScored. There was a gaping void in the centre of midfield where Declan usually sweeps up and ensures that the ball doesn’t reach the defence. Noble didn’t do that.
Now, on the ball, he was fine. He had a pass completion rate of 90%. He moved the ball well. But he was also dribbled past twice, and he simply isn’t the player we need to be relying upon at this point in time.
The Irons don’t have the strength in depth in the squad to allow him to be dropped, though, and unless David Moyes is willing to promote Conor Coventry – it doesn’t seem like he is – then we don’t have any other option.
If it isn’t Noble, it’s no one, and this comes back to the start of the argument. Nobody is saying it’s Mark’s fault. He’s aged, he doesn’t have the turn of pace anymore, he can’t keep dictating games. But we don’t ask him to. He comes on to help us see games out.
And nobody is more heartbroken than we are at seeing Noble struggle. We don’t want to see him floundering in midfield; we want him covering every blade of grass, snapping into tackles, breaking through defences, and scoring goals. We want the Mark Noble who became an Irons legend.
What we don’t want is the Mark Noble we have often seen this season; his legs not quite keeping up with his brain, the pace gone. It’s not his fault in any way shape or form but it isn’t controversial to say that we need Declan back as soon as humanly possible.
Otherwise, we fear what may come next for Noble in the Premier League run-in.