West Ham United extended their 100% record in the Europa League with another 2-0 victory on Thursday night.
David Moyes’ side top Group H after two matches, having defeated Austrian outfi, Rapid Wien at the London Stadium.
A rare Declan Rice goal opened the scoring for the Irons after he ghosted into the penalty box to score a tap-in just before the half-hour mark before Said Benrahma ensured all three points with a nicely-timed finish in injury time.
The England international clinched the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his dominating midfield display but there were some names that deserved just as much credit.
One of which was Aaron Cresswell, who was a constant threat bombing down that left flank and in the absence of the injured Vladimir Coufal on the other side, it was certainly needed.
The 31-year-old, who is thought to earn around £50k-per-week in east London, played a huge role as he registered more touches (96) than any other Hammers player. In fact, he saw the ball 20 more times than the next best, Ben Johnson (76).
That only goes to show just how crucial the veteran is to this side as it’s clear that many of West Ham’s play runs through him in some form.
He also contributed a match-high three key passes and four successful crosses, once again proving to be a major creative influence, having ended last season as their leading assist-maker (eight) in the Premier League.
But he wasn’t just a big influence in the final third. After all, he’s a defender by trade.
As per SofaScore, the 5 foot 7 dynamo won 100% of his aerial battles, put in two tackles and made one interception to help thwart the visiting Austrians, who recorded a total of ten shots on the day, just four fewer than the Irons.
“Superb set-piece delivery from the left-back and was unfortunate not to have at least one assist. Did his defensive duties with aplomb.”
On the above evidence, the English defender deserves his fair share of plaudits as he put in another impressive outing under Moyes. He was the Irons’ unsung hero on the night.