While a 1-0 defeat is by no means a disastrous result for West Ham United to take back to the London Stadium from their first leg Europa League round of 16 tie with Sevilla, David Moyes may well be wondering how his team did not get something out of their trip to Spain.
Indeed, the Hammers had the perfect opportunity to take the lead after a well-worked first half free-kick, only for Nikola Vlasic to direct his header straight at Bono between the Sevilla sticks, while Manuel Lanzini also saw what seemed a sure-fire goal brilliantly blocked by Jesus Navas after the interval.
However, while a loss was certainly not the result the 58-year-old would have liked to bring back to England, he will nevertheless have been exceptionally pleased with the performances of a number of his starting XI, with Declan Rice, Kurt Zouma and Ben Johnson all shining against the La Liga giants.
While Rice and Zouma were fantastic on the night, it will undoubtedly be the latter of those three who will have been most pleased with his display at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday, as the 22-year-old ran the show from right-back.
With Vladimir Coufal remaining sidelined due to injury, Johnson was once again handed a start on the right of West Ham’s back four, and the youngster did not disappoint.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch, the £6m-rated dynamo proved very solid at the back, making four clearances and three tackles, blocking three shots and winning three of his five duels – all while up against one of the most exciting wingers in European football in Lucas Ocampos.
However, it was not only defensively that the £19k-per-week youngster impressed, as Johnson also enjoyed 64 touches of the ball, completed 26 passes and found his man with three of his six attempted crosses and two of his six attempted long balls, in addition to playing one key pass.
As such, while Johnson may not have been Moyes’ first choice on the right-hand side of his defence so far this term, the 22-year-old’s display against Sevilla may well have convinced the manager to rethink his pecking order in the position. Johnson well and truly ran the show for the Hammers at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.