In January, West Ham United purchased promising Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill, hopeful the 25-year-old could revitalise a misfiring Hammers attack.
Nonetheless, the £10 million move has turned out to be little more than a squad addition, playing just 22 minutes since signing in January.
The East London club would have been far better off signing a fellow 25-year-old Championship forward: Derby County star Matej Vydra.
Vydra sits atop the Championship top scorer charts this season, with 19 goals in the league and 20 in all competitions. These stats are simply remarkable, revealing Vydra’s lethal finishing ability and vital contributions to the Rams’ promotion push.
Derby manager Gary Rowett tipped Vydra for Premier League greatness last week, in quotes reported by the Derby Telegraph, claiming that the Czech Republic international has the ability to score 20 goals a season in the top flight. Rowett commended the frontman on his knack for creating opportunities and also his defensive work-rate.
This impressive duality will appeal to West Ham supporters, who have been aching for a consistent striker for many a season now. Vydra can provide an impressive striker’s instinct along with a tireless work ethic, serving as a poacher and a crucial first defender alike.
The sorry state of West Ham’s attack is summarised by the pathetically low goal tally their strikers have amassed to date. Their highest goalscorer is Marko Arnautovic with nine goals, and Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll have just ten goals combined this season.
No player has reached double figures for the Hammers, a truly sobering statistic for a Premier League club.
The addition of Matej Vydra this summer would certainly shake up the goal-shy West Ham frontline, and the Hammers should make acquiring the services of the Derby striker a top priority.
One to watch: Derby County’s 21-year-old winger Harry Wilson
Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
Harry Wilson returns to the Championship on loan again this season with Derby County after a positive start to senior football career last season at Hull City.
His fruitful return of seven goals and three assists in 996 minutes for Hull was a healthy return after arriving on loan in January.
Not only that, the Welshman notched his first senior international goal with a tidy left-footed curler that looks as though it could become a trademark of his.
After Wilson signed a new contract with Liverpool this summer, Reds manager Jürgen Klopp was quick to highlight the Welshman’s best attribute.
“He’s a finisher, which is the most difficult thing to learn, he has the nose for a goal if you want,” Klopp told the club’s official website.
After playing predominantly on the left for Hull City, Wilson will likely play on his favoured right flank this season, which will allow him to continue to work on cutting inside and firing across the goalkeeper.
His goal-scoring nous is something that is becoming desirable amongst wide players, whose natural role is increasingly being consumed by full-backs.
Additionally, while he has more than enough stamina to run out 90 minutes, he lacks some of the explosiveness of a traditional winger.
Not to worry, he instead focusses on linking up with central players – playing off them and combining to work his way into the penalty box and create space to shoot.
Wilson arrives at a Derby County side in a much more favourable position than Hull City were when he was loaned there last season.
As promotion hopefuls, and with the requisite parts to be a pretty strong attacking force, the 21-year-old should feel confident in being able to impress onlookers from his parent club Liverpool.
He is aiming high. Wilson seems determined to be a success at Derby, then Liverpool.
One to Watch: Mason Mount and Harry Wilson debut for Derby County
The on-loan duo both lined-up for the Rams against Reading on Friday evening.
Derby County’s two marquee loan signings Mason Mount and Harry Wilson were both their club debuts as Frank Lampard’s Rams team began the Sky Bet Championship season with a 2-1 win away to Reading.
A lot of attention was on 19-year-old Mount, especially, with plenty of hype surrounding him upon his arrival from Chelsea after a wonderful loan season on loan in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem.
In this game, he adopted a deeper role than he became accustomed to with Vitesse.
He routinely was the player who received the ball from the centre-backs where he tried, with varying degrees of success, to advance play.
One felt at times Mount received the ball too deep – in such areas where he was unable to make full use of his quality in the final third.
Not to be denied, though, the Englishman proved how dangerous he can be in and around the penalty box with his equalising effort that caught Reading goalkeeper Vito Mannone off guard from 25 yards.
However, it was far from a vintage Mason Mount performance.
Much more will continue to be expected from him as the season progresses.
Fellow debutant Wilson, the 21-year-old on loan from Liverpool, worked tirelessly. He always does.
He was limited, however, by the sheer lack of volume of attacks focussed down Derby’s right-hand side.
The Rams seem to prefer targeting the left flank, where Mount, Tom Lawrence and Max Lowe present a more dangerous threat than the likes of Andre Wisdom on the opposite side.
Nevertheless, Wilson will continue to play an important role spacing the attack and pressing – the goals will come for him.
‘Lampard has a lot of work to do’ – Twitter reacts to Derby’s tactics against Reading
Derby County secured their first competitive victory under Frank Lampard, after Tom Lawrence scored a dramatic late winner against Reading.
There were a lot of questions regarding the way that the visitors would set-up under their new manager. Despite their victory, Derby didn’t deliver a convincing performance and there are problems for Lampard to address on the training pitch.
They dominated possession with 63.5% of the ball, but they were open at the back and they were lucky that Reading didn’t push them more. The Rams regularly gave the ball away in their own half and could have conceded more on another day.
For a team to effectively play out from the back, they need confident centre-backs that can put their foot on the ball and pick a forward pass. Neither Curtis Davies nor Richard Keogh looked comfortable on Friday evening. The latter, especially, was nervous every time he had possession. He made one defensive error and was fortunate not to cost his team a goal.
Keogh ended the match with a pass success rate of 83%. This isn’t bad, but Lampard will want his centre-backs to be aiming to have a pass success rate above 85% and nearer 90% in the current system.
The full-backs were an area of concern too, as they were both asked to push up the pitch at every opportunity, which left gaps at the back. Andre Wisdom and Max Lowe finished the game with yellow cards, as they were having to chase back and commit themselves to challenges. Their pass success rates of 67% and 69% respectively need work.
For the full-backs to play with such freedom, the team needs a quality ball-winning midfielder that can sit in front of the back four. One wasn’t present at the Madejski Stadium and Derby’s back four were vulnerable as a result. It is hoped that George Evans could be that player, but that is far from certain.
Lampard will make it clear to his players that a team can’t perfect a tactical set-up overnight and this was a positive learning experience for the squad. That is true, but there were some individual weaknesses that were there for all to see and that is a concern.
It is admirable that Lampard wants to play this brand of football and it could develop over time, but he needs to be pragmatic with what he has available to him. At times, Derby went long to David Nugent and picked up the second ball. This caused more problems for Reading.
Here is how Twitter reacted to Derby’s tactical set-up:
Derby’s passing is awful, Lampard has a lot of work to do.
— AM29 (@MorataSZN) August 3, 2018
30 minutes of Derby playing questionable passes around the back 4 is enough to remind me why I detest passing football
— Ryan O'Meara (@_omeara_r) August 3, 2018
— Mario Christou (@MarioChristou) August 3, 2018
Frank Lampard playing a possession game, but Wisdom, Keogh and Davies struggling to make any form of forward pass. Lowe looks the only one who isn't a bag of nerves. All the quality is up top, but Wilson and Mount can't get on the ball.
— Sean (@SeanWalkerSport) August 3, 2018
Richard Keogh was the centre of discussion when it came to Derby’s tactics:
That Derby centre back is terrible at passing. Keeps giving it away
— Daniel Fisher (@danfis) August 3, 2018
Frank Lampard after watching Richard Keogh for his Derby side in tonight’s game.
— Scott Wiles (@Scott_W88) August 3, 2018
Only seen 20 minutes of Richard Keogh being a ball-playing defender but I don’t reckon it’s going to work.
— Benjamin Wills (@_BenWills) August 3, 2018
Hate to be negative but Wisdom and Keogh have had a stinker first 20. Defensively we haven't improved and its our problem every single season
— Derby Retweets (@DerbyRetweets) August 3, 2018
Mason Mount’s performance was picked out as a positive:
First half Derby kept passing the ball to Lawerence and plays kept breaking down in the final third.
Since the goal, Derby have been passing the ball a lot more to Mount, and it beginning to cause some havoc around Reading’s box.
Mount always looking dangerous on the ball.
— /r/ChelseaFC (@redditchelseafc) August 3, 2018
Can see what Lampard wants to do just looks like the sides missing a player or 2. Nugent not really helping, nothing sticking.
Mount has big potential #DCFC
— Dave (@DaveJenkins56) August 3, 2018
Overall not what I expected from the first game but great result. Mount and Wilson brought the energy required. Lawrence the Ronaldo of the side… time we invest in a quality center back, spent nearly 40mil in mid/forward over the seasons and less than 5 on defenders#dcfc
— researchg (@researchg) August 3, 2018
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