By John Murphy
Footballers are no different to anyone else in any r walk of life…from time to time, they tend to drag their feet.
This may not be rcocket sceince, especially if you have watched a West Ham team with Patrice Evra in it, but it can come as a shock when you consider the wages they command.
West Ham’s results with Patrice Evra starting in the Premier League this season
Lost 4-1 vs Liverpool
Lost 4-1 vs Swansea
Lost 4-1 vs Manchester City
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 30, 2018
There is a feeling amongst fans of any football team that due to the enormous wages, there can be no room for complacency in terms of performance.
Whilst this should always be the case, we tend to forget that footballers are human and suffer from the same distractions as everyone else but given the millions they earn it’s not easy to forgive.
The death of a loved one will always earn a player a few free passes from the terraces, but not a late-night scandal at a nightclub. Then there a player coming back from injury and taking longer than expected to hit heights which were once normal.
The reasoning can be the player is no what he was. The Premier League has always been full of players who were a shadow of themselves after injury. Names like Michael Owen and Kieron Kieron Dyer spring to mind for example. at.
In other instances, players are able to fulfil their potential once more after injury but get bogged down by their prolonged absence from the game. For whatever reason, their performances remain dormant until they explode back into life.
That’s just what Manuel Lanzini did against Spurs in a pulsating 3-3 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that earned the attack-minded player a perfect ten rating for his performance.
Tottenham 3-3 West Ham 🍿
Tottenham were 3-0 up after 81 minutes 😬
Lanzini’s late equaliser could already be goal of the season 😳
Another INCREDIBLE game in the Premier League 🤯pic.twitter.com/fXCREy7xtI
— Goal (@goal) October 19, 2020
The Argentine had only scored once in two seasons for West Ham after suffering an ACL rupture in 2018, before smashing home his thunderbolt into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ net.
You can’t help but feel that the timing was rather ironic as, the week before, David Moyes had just brought in Algerian playmaker Said Benrahma.
The former Brentford man is expected to provide the Hammers’ attack with an exciting dynamic edge, but Lanzini’s newfound form could even delay the Algerian’s introduction to the Premier League.
At the very least, Moyes now has a selection headache when it comes to that roaming number ten role. The fans will be down on bended knee hoping that this does indeed mean that Lanzini returns to the form he was showing during the 2017/2018 season.
Of course, Hammers fans have experienced many a false dawn before and will be cautious about their optimism.
But, at the same time, the entire team looks to be playing for David Moyes in a way that suggests this could well be an enjoyable season.
It would also be remiss not to point out that despite a few very promising results, William Hill’s odds on football for the Premier League still have the Hammers as outsiders at 3/1 for a top-half finish.
Saïd Benrahma – that is sensational! ✨
What a goal from Brentford’s star man! 🔥🎯 pic.twitter.com/pFKDe0gAMw
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) July 11, 2020
With the arrival of Benrahma and the hoped for surge of Lanzini form i, you do feel that the Hammers won’t be short on goals and could quite easily gatecrash the top half.
Ultimately, the signs are very good indeed for West Ham. Competition for places has immediately proved effective in bringing underperforming players out from their slumber, and a will to play until the final whistle suggests that the spirit within the camp is exceptional.
The underwhelming summer feels a long way away now.