While others such as Mark Noble, Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini may have stolen a significant proportion of the limelight in West Ham United’s impressive campaign, Cheikhou Kouyaté has consistently put in important understated displays as their midfield enforcer. The man mountain is far more than just a physically imposing presence, adding a great degree of technical proficiency to the strength and robustness that come naturally to someone of his build.
Cheikhou Kouyaté possesses a terrific engine that allows him to get about the field and influence the play in every aspect. The physical specimen is not one of the game’s recognised great passers, instead content to keep it simple and allow Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini to spray the ball around. Signed from Anderlecht in 2014, the Senegalese international impacts the game from box to box after breaking up the play, occasionally popping up on the edge of the opposition’s 18-yard box to have an effort himself. His height is also useful at set-pieces, with the Hammers retaining their potency from a dead-ball situation from when Sam Allardyce was in charge. Overall, Kouyaté helps to give the side a great balance, as his attributes have helped the London outfit perform in a variety of styles and situations.