By David Blackmore, Editor-in-Chief
of Blowing Bubbles Monthly
So much has been written…so many compliments paid…that on Saturday afternoon I made a decision – rather than watch the game overall I was going to focus on Dimi Payet.
This was to be my highly personalised Payet Watch for ClaretandHugh.
Players like this come along so rarely that they are worth a second, third, fourth or constant look so welcome to the Blackmore Payet player cam Dimi!
Clearly when focusing on one player for a prolonged period, rather than picking when they are on the ball you get a better flavour of what they are about. Payet – quite simply – influenced everything!
There is a select group of footballers that always appear to have time on the ball and are always in space, and in Payet, we have one of those players.
I’ve given David Silva the player cam treatment for a game before and there were a lot of similar characteristics shown by Payet that gives me belief he will become a truly great player for West Ham.
Like Silva, it’s his touch and vision that gives him that time and space, but I felt against the Premier League champions, they also gave him too much respect and space, and he exploited it big time.
He did, however, play one particular ball in the first half that had a touch of the Zinedine Zidanes about it.
He received it near the halfway line, turned sharply, picked up his head, and saw Sakho running the channel.
Without a moment’s hesitation, he clipped the ball with the outside of his right foot to ensure it not only stayed in play but kept in Sakho’s path. It was pure class.
There were occasions, however, where it was evident Payet’s footballing brain was on a totally different wavelength to his teammates.
The best example was in the second half. The defence cleared the ball up to Carroll who sprayed it wide to the left and to Payet’s feet. The big striker followed his pass, as all good players should, and continued to run down the flank as Payet kept the ball and ran back into the middle.
Having drawn two Chelsea players away from the left, he’d created a huge space he thought Carroll was running into. Unfortunately for us, the England international checked his run and the flick from Payet into the space bobbled out into touch.
The way Payet looked at Carroll said it all – as did the look on Carroll’s face. He knew he’d not been able to read the game like Payet can.
It’s important the Frenchman doesn’t get too frustrated when this happens because the more he plays with Carroll, Sakho, Valencia, etc, the more they’ll understand how his brain works.
Following the full time whistle on Saturday, my overriding view was just how much we use him, but equally how much he wants the ball.
The latter is a key point. He has shown how talented he is but he needs to keep showing for the ball and not hide away when things aren’t going right.
The beauty of our squad this season is that if he needs a game or two to recharge his batteries, we’ve got excellent options to come in.
The focus of Saturday’s win was making sure we kept feeding Payet, and allowing him to attack Zouma.
Clearly, he is “super Slav’s man” and will be key to any success we enjoy this campaign. If he can continue to develop, learn from every training session and match, stays fit, and motivated, there’s no reason why we can’t build a team around him for seasons to come.
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