It has been a rather indifferent start to the season for the new Slaven Bilic led era at West Ham United.
The Hammers suffered the embarrassment of being knocked out of the Europa league at a very early stage losing on aggregate to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, but they bounced back brilliantly with an impressive 2-0 win over London rivals Arsenal on the opening day of the season. Then they took another step backwards by losing 2-1 to Leicester City in their first home game of the season.
There is one sign of hope throughout all of this, though, and that’s the consistently impressive early performances they have seen from new signing Dimitri Payet.
The new £10.7million signing from French side Marseille has been a revelation since he joined the Hammers, and has taken to the Premier League like a house on fire.
Last season, whilst playing for Marseille, the player created the most chances out of any player in Europe’s top leagues. That is more than the some of the best players in the world, like Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, David Silva and Mesut Ozil.
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And Payet is already off the mark in terms of both goals and assists for his new side. In the win over Arsenal he provided the assist for Cheikhou Kouyate’s goal with a precise free-kick, and then he managed the consolation goal in the defeat to Leicester with a powerful effort into the top corner from the edge of the area.
The 28-year-old loves to be involved in everything, sitting in the number 10 role behind the lone striker. He comes deep to gather the ball and is instantly looking to get on the front foot.
The ex-Marseille man has all the attributes you look for from a playmaker. A speedy and tricky footballer, he is comfortable using his incredible technique and pace to run at defenders, causing a world of problems.
For such a small footballer he is also very strong and difficult to push off the ball, and he looks perfect for the demands of Premier League football
He is comfortable on the ball, with a vast passing range and wonderful final ball. Payet is always looking for the runs of team mates with the midfielder confident of his ability to pick a target out from anywhere.
Perhaps one of the strongest assets in the 28-year-old’s game is his set piece deliveries. This could be a massive weapon for a very tall West Ham side that has always been dominant attacking from dead balls.
It is of course early days for the player, but if he keeps up performances anywhere near the impressive level he has so far in his early West Ham career, he will no doubt become a hero for the Hammers.
Payet is certainly a player to keep an eye out for this year and will prove himself to be one of the best acquisitions this season.