Analysing Dimitri Payet's saving performance against Middlesbrough
Dimitri Payet put in a pivotal performance for West Ham as they came from behind against Middlesbrough to grab a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon, possibly saving his manager from the sack – in the short term at least.
The Frenchman; often the man the Hammers look towards in time of need, scored an incredible solo goal to equalise, minutes after Cristhian Stuani had given Boro the lead at the London Stadium.
Slaven Bilic will now be hoping, with the losing run now at an end, he will be given more time to take the Hammers back up the table and give the fans the season they were hoping for, but that is certainly far from a guaranteed outcome.
Payet was the man driving the home side forward on many occasions, often putting the ball into dangerous positions for the attackers to try and get to. In fact, he delivered nine crosses, but without a real target man such as Andy Carroll or new signing Zaza, it was often without much impact.
Where the 29-year-old excelled during this game was through his ability to beat a man and in doing so, create an effort on goal. His runs were all with purpose, and allowed him to create many of his four shots and the four chances he alone created.
Finally, we were able to see the fruits of his labours. With his 18th shot of the season, Payet finally got his first league goal of the campaign. Picking up the ball nearer the dugouts than the goal, the Frenchman committed five of his six take-ons, sending all five defending Boro players dizzy and putting the effort away, out of Calum Chambers reach.
It might be West Ham’s worst start since 1988-89 after only gaining four points after these seven games, but the form of their star man is encouraging. Signs were there when he put in a delightful last minute free-kick in the EFL Cup, but today’s performance suggests that he is now up-to-speed after a whirlwind of a summer.
It may be difficult to top what he did last season, but if Payet can help turn this season around for the Hammers, after a difficult start, he could be even more of a hero to fans than he already is.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Phuong Ngo
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