David Moyes’ West Ham United side went into Tuesday evening’s Premier League fixture against Watford in something of a poor run of form, having lost their last two league games, as well as narrowly edging past Kidderminster Harriers in the fourth round of the FA Cup last weekend.
As such, the 58-year-old Hammers boss would undoubtedly have been hoping for a much-improved performance and result against the Hornets last night, and, while the overall display was by no means the Irons’ best of the season, Jarrod Bowen’s deflected 68th-minute strike proved enough for West Ham to secure all three points at the London Stadium – with the fixture ending 1-0 to the home side.
However, while Bowen will quite rightly steal the headlines after yet another match in which he dragged his side over the line, it will undoubtedly be the performance of the returning Aaron Cresswell that most pleased Moyes on Tuesday night, as the 32-year-old proved just how important he is to West Ham with a commanding display from left-back against Roy Hodgson’s outfit.
Indeed, while the defender was not overly bothered in a defensive capacity by either Juraj Kucka or Kiko Femenia on Watford’s right flank, Cresswell was nevertheless resilient when required – making two tackles, one interception, two clearances and winning three duels over his 90 minutes on the pitch.
However, it was going forwards when the £3.6m-rated left-back truly earned his keep, posing a continual threat for the Hornet’s defenders with his 14 attempted long balls and his six attempted crosses – a total of seven of which found their intended target.
The former England international also enjoyed 96 touches of the ball – the third-most on the night behind Vladimir Coufal, who had 107, and Tomas Soucek, who had 97 – completed 55 passes – one of which was key – and drew one foul for his side.
These returns saw the £50k-per-week left-back earn an impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.2, while the Evening Standard’s Jack Rosser also awarded the 32-year-old a seven in his own player ratings.
As such, despite his advancing years, it is clear for all to see that the efforts of West Ham’s “unsung hero” – in the words of Tony Cascarino – are not only vital to his team at the back but also in both a creative and attacking capacity, with Cresswell’s performance against Watford perfectly highlighting his true worth to the West Ham side: Priceless.