Paul Merson believes that West Ham look a completely different side without their captain Mark Noble and was extremely critical of the team’s performance following his injury at the weekend.
The Hammers midfielder was substituted off after just 20 minutes away to Burnley in the Premier League and Manuel Pellegrini watched his side fall to a 3-0 defeat.
Noble was taken off with an ankle sprain and he will now undergo a scan (official website) during the international break to determine the extent of the problem.
Sky Sports pundit Merson feels that there was a major drop off following the 32-year-old’s forced substitution against Burnley and highlighted his importance.
“As soon as Noble went off injured [against Burnley] after about 10 minutes, you might as well have took the rest of the team off,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“Without Mark Noble in the team I don’t see who gets this team up, I don’t see who drives them on. It was so lacklustre.
“He’s the one who drives this team forward, he’s the one who cares, he’s the one who gets everyone going.”
Noble hasn’t quite been at his sparkling best in the centre of the park this season, but West Ham fans should hope he’s fit and available after the international break.
He is a central midfielder that will give everything on the pitch for the Irons and they do need him to lift the group for a pivotal run of games in the near future.
The Hammers are already sitting 16th in the table looking over their shoulders rather than up and are without a win in their last six league matches.
They have three London derbies in their next four matches, as well as a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers during that.
Noble is the type of figure needed to help a struggling West Ham team pull a rabbit out the hat against the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.