Player by Player Analysis: Wolves 1-0 West Ham Utd

West Ham's 0-1 loss to Wolves makes it seven Premier League matches without a win for David Moyes and places the Hammers at the centre of a fight to stay in the Premier League.

Yet again, Moyes’ side were dominant for long stretches but showed total ineptitude in the final third to somehow manage not to score against a Wolves defence that never truly looked comfortable.


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Player Ratings

Łukasz Fabiański (6)
Fabiański could do nothing about Daniel Podence’s goal and was a spectator for much of the rest of the match.

Vladimír Coufal (7)
Coufal battled away fantastically down the right flank and seems to be hitting some better individual form at a crucial time for the team. His final ball is still hugely unreliable, and he could have done better with a couple of excellent openings as he arrived late to meet overhit crosses from the left, but this was another promising display.

Nayef Aguerd (6)
Playing on the wrong side to partner with Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Craig Dawson were both unavailable to start this game, Aguerd impressed in the first half before a slightly ropey second 45 as the game opened up with West Ham chasing. Some of his distribution was a big positive and it’s exciting to think what the Moroccan might be able to produce once finally partnered with Zouma.

Angelo Ogbonna (6)
Thrust into the starting lineup with Dawson expected to leave the club in the coming days, Ogbonna struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game to begin with before looking back to his best at times as the game wore on. He was caught out of the backline as Raúl Jimenez raced away to add a second – the goal was eventually ruled out for offside – and this slightly lacking speed of thought will be a concern if Dawson does get his move before the end of the transfer window.

Aaron Cresswell (7)
It was his miscued clearance that fell to Podence for the Portuguese to slot home from the edge of the box but this was another performance from Cresswell that was full of the progressive qualities necessary to significantly improve the efficiency with which West Ham are able to get the ball to the final third. He has a fantastic relationship with Michail Antonio and found the Jamaican on his arcing runs from the centre to the left on several occasions, racking up nine progressive passes (match high), but – as has often been the key issue for the left-back as he’s moved past 32 – his productivity in the final third was concerning once again. Regularly finding himself in positive positions, Cresswell was unable to produce that killer delivery he was once known for. And without this, West Ham would be wise to look for another creative full-back in the market this January.

Tomáš Souček (5)
Whilst Souček offered the usual defensive and aerial qualities in midfield – his flick-on for Jarrod Bowen in the first half from Lucas Paquetá’s cross was delightful – there are some games where you can see that West Ham would be helped by having a more technically gifted player in the middle. It was unsurprising to see him taken off again to allow Benrahma to come on with Fornals moving into the centre.

Declan Rice (6)
Rice dramatically improved after a terrible first half where he had been soft in the duels and far too easy to beat. For 20 minutes of the second half we saw Rice at his best level – positional perfection, always securing the loose balls, enabling the team to sustain pressure, interrupting counters, and supplying inch-perfect forward distribution – and then it all began to fall away again. It’s difficult to understand what is happening to stop Rice from hitting that absolute top level at the moment but there are lapses in concentration, poor decisions around the box, and terrible efforts from distance that are all holding him back for now.


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Lucas Paquetá (5)
Another player who had an incredibly mixed game, Paquetá impressed in the first half before putting in a torrid second half display. Save the last few minutes of the game, where he finally began to retake some control in the middle and supply quality to the forwards, the Brazilian was awful for much of the second half – constantly over-pressing, being caught out of position, losing duels, and losing possession; this was miles from the level you’d expect of such a talented player.

Jarrod Bowen (4)
After earning praise in recent weeks for his excellent off-ball work while still failing to produce that final bit in front of goal, it felt like the wheels came off completely for Bowen at Molineux. Aside from an excellent run and cross to Antonio in the 19th minute, this was a hugely concerning performance that desperately lacked quality in the final third. A couple of times, he worked the room for a shot or a cross but the final ball completely evaded him and then, when winning a fantastic interception off José Sá early in the second half, he outsmarted himself by playing a reverse pass to Souček with two better options staring him in the face.

Michail Antonio (6)
Some of Antonio’s work leading up to the final third was brilliant on Saturday. He held the ball up well at times, made his classic runs out to the left flank creating space for others, and cushioned one cross beautifully for Rice to shoot from the edge of the box. But his lack of composure in key moments was a serious concern again. He had opportunities to play teammates in but failed to provide the killer pass and also failed to control and produce when found in the box on several occasions. Must do better.

Pablo Fornals (6)
Potentially the most confusing decision throughout this match was Moyes’ choice to replace Fornals with Scamacca with 15 minutes to play. The Spaniard had worked away in a defensive winger position in the first half before finally getting his chance to move into the centre when Souček was withdrawn. Immediately, he began to produce some excellent combination play with Benrahma and find positive forward balls into dangerous areas but, shortly thereafter, he was withdrawn. Strange.

Saïd Benrahma (7)
His decision-making continues to infuriate but Benrahma’s directness can be pretty crucial to this side at the moment – his ability to beat a man and change the feel of the game is made vital by the insipidity of others. He instantaneously provided a spark in attack when coming on before fading as the team struggled for control with just two in the middle. His resurgence towards the end of the match, as he picked a couple of clever passes to teammates and danced past Nélson Semedo on the wing, should have led to more.

Gianluca Scamacca (N/A)

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