West Ham’s season hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far, but they did witness a small improvement in performance when they hosted Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The Hammers came from behind to register a 1-1 draw, thanks to a world-class solo goal from Dimitri Payet, which ended their awful run of four successive defeats in the Premier League.
But while Payet stole the headlines with his goal of the season contender, one forgotten West Ham midfielder can be regarded as the Hammers’ key man during their improved display.
Spaniard Pedro Obiang has had to be patient and wait for first-team opportunities since signing from Sampdoria last summer – he has more Premier League appearances off the bench than he has starts – but he certainly gave Slaven Bilic food for thought on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was handed a rare Premier League start as Bilic attempted to ring the changes in order to stop the rot at London Stadium, and it duly paid off.
Obiang was arguably West Ham’s best player – aside from the ever-impressive Payet – and contributed with a 77% pass success rate, four interceptions, three clearances, eight ball recoveries and a 100% tackle success rate.
Hammers fans had been calling for the midfielder to get more game time after a string if impressive performances since arriving in east London, and Bilic will have few reasons to drop him after his latest display…