When Joe Hart signed for West Ham on loan in the summer, it was the fact he had done so alongside his former Manchester City teammate Pablo Zabaleta that seemed to make it so exciting.
Hart has won the Premier League golden glove a record four times from his Manchester City days, and is still England’s number one – though he may not be by the time the next round of international fixtures comes along.
And while Hart might be longing for his days of glory at the Etihad, it was his current side’s trip to his parent club that sealed his current spot on the West Ham bench.
Unable to play, Adrian took up the role between the sticks and gave a great account of himself as his side were unlucky to lose to a rampant Manchester City, who were on course to set a record run of Premier League wins.
Since then, the Spanish goalkeeper has kept his place in the side and done fairly well.
We all knew he was a good goalkeeper, but consistency and concentration were often his let-downs in the past. Since coming in for Hart, the competition seems to have spurred him on. Against Tottenham, he showed it.
To go to Spurs and come away with a result is a difficult thing to achieve these days, especially when you find yourselves in the midst of a relegation dogfight. But that’s exactly what the Hammers did thanks in no small part to their goalkeeper.
You often need luck and help from your keeper to get a point away to Tottenham, and with Adrian, they certainly got the help. He a massive seven saves to help his side to a point, whilst the defence in front of him also deserves praise for the fact that they stuck to their jobs diligently. That Spurs had 31 shots is testament to their quality and the defensive nature of the West Ham performance, but the fact that 14 of those shots were blocked says a lot about the Hammers defence, too.
Adrian, however, was on hand to help when needed.
Though that characterisation of a man involved only on the periphery of the game is an unfair one. The Spanish stopper attempted more passes than any other West Ham player on the night, which is surely a reflection of Tottenham dominance rather than anything else, but for a goalkeeper who is prone to a lapse in concentration, it’s encouraging.
In the same vein, however, his 30% pass accuracy – explained by his long kicked clearances and the fact that only Javier Hernandez and Cheikhou Kouyate were jumping to try to win them – still saw him complete more passes than Winston Reid and Hernandez himself.
Indeed, Adrian had more touches than five West Ham players on the night as the Hammers’ rearguard action was all-encompassing.
But in the end, if defences are solid, they’re helped by whatever trust they have in their goalkeeper behind them, and in Adrian West Ham have a goalkeeper they can trust ore than Hart at the moment.