Angelo Ogbonna was the true star of the show as West Ham United beat Burnley 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a dream return to the starting line-up for Michail Antonio.
The Hammers sealed all three points through Antonio’s fourth goal of the season and first since October, when the 30-year-old met Pablo Fornals’ teasing delivery unchallenged at the back post to poke home past Nick Pope in the ninth minute.
David Moyes’ side continually proved to be the greater attacking threat and come close to doubling their advantage when Ogbonna’s header crashed back off the woodwork late in the first half.
Ogbonna has scored twice already this season with goals against Aston Villa and Leeds United, and would have sealed his most productive Premier League campaign had his 18th-minute header not also missed the target after connecting well with Jarrod Bowen’s corner.
Ogbonna proved a relentless titan in the air during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Burnley, with the Clarets finding the Italian an imposing colossus to conquer alongside Craig Dawson as the pair helped West Ham to keep a fourth-straight clean sheet across all competitions.
Moyes is seeing Ogbonna regularly set the tone at the London Stadium nowadays, and would have taken great confidence in the £4.5m-rated brute also carrying possession out from the back well with a smart run down the left-flank early in the second period.
Saturday’s appearance was Ogbonna’s 18th start in the Premier League this season, in which the 32-year-old has now played a key role in six clean sheets with a consistent high-level to his performances.
Ogbonna was the sole member of Moyes’ backline to register a successful tackle against Burnley, having seen Aaron Cresswell, Dawson and Vladimir Coufal each fail to offer a single attempt. The Italian also recorded a joint-game high eight clearances with Tomas Soucek, along with one interception, per WhoScored.
He further protected Lukasz Fabianski’s goal with a team-high six defensive aerial contests which, combined with Ogbonna’s two offensive headers, resulted in a 50% success rate to take his season averages to 2.5 duels won from 4.1 contests per Premier League outing.
Moyes got what he will have come to expect in terms of Ogbonna’s defending, with the 32-year-old on average winning 0.9 of 1.2 tackles and offering 1.0 interceptions and 4.8 clearances, and will hope to see more from the centre-half when West Ham take to the pitch against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night with the Italian a firm star of the West Ham show.