West Ham academy gem Ben Johnson was an unsung hero as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Michail Antonio’s sixth goal of the season was the difference as he slotted home from close range after an inch-perfect corner from Aaron Cresswell.
The left-back’s creativity has been crucial to the Irons’ success since David Moyes returned for a second stint at the club. He provided a squad-high eight assists last term and he has now finally gotten off the mark for the current campaign with his fine set-piece ability.
However, it was his fellow full-back that went a little unnoticed in east London.
The 21-year-old defender registered more touches (71) than anyone else on the pitch, including Cresswell (70) and even Declan Rice (58), which suggests that he deputised in the absence of Vladimir Coufal to great effect once again.
It also means he was one of the more influential players on the pitch as a lot of their play ran through him – and with these touches, the 5 foot 9 dynamo completed 100% of his crosses, created one key chance and even had a shot at goal.
He also did his defensive duties to a tee, recording a whopping five tackles winning 100% of his seven duels and even one clearance, as per SofaScore, who also graded him on par with Cresswell – both scoring 7.7 rating.
Johnson’s performance was even more impressive considering he was tasked with the massive job of defending against Heung-min Son, who is Spurs’ top goalscorer and one of the most lethal forwards in the Premier League on his day.
As football.london reporter Tom Clark explains, the youngster ‘did well up against Son’, whilst the Evening Standard’s Jack Rosser claimed he ‘continues to impress as he deputises for Vladimir Coufal. Confident on the ball and handled himself well at the back.’
On the above evidence, the 21-year-old Rush Green prodigy handled himself well on the biggest stage and he deserves just as much credit as Cresswell and Antonio combining for the winner.