Player by Player Analysis: Derby County 0-2 West Ham Utd

There are a few growing signs of recovery appearing in east London after David Moyes’ side made it three wins out of four with a comfortable 2-0 win over Derby County in the FA Cup Fourth Round on Monday night.

The Hammers didn’t need to play particularly well as Paul Warne’s side struggled creditably to overcome the obvious difference in quality on the pitch but goals from Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen will have soothed concerns somewhat. That pair will be vital in February as West Ham could be without Danny Ings, Gianluca Scamacca, and Maxwel Cornet while all three forwards recover from injury.

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Player Ratings

Alphonse Areola (7)
Areola was comfortable throughout on his return from injury making a couple of simple claims from crosses and one routine save late in the match.

Thilo Kehrer (6)
Kehrer hasn’t played much since the World Cup and the reasons for his absence were clear again on Monday as the German made another couple of catastrophic errors in an otherwise positive performance. This was the quintessential Kehrer performance. Excellent distribution from the back and positive proactive defending were undermined by a handful of absurd mistakes. The defender allowed Tom Barkhuizen through in the opening seconds of the match before a moment of indecisiveness under pressure in the penalty area nearly led to him nutmegging Areola to put Tony Springett clean through.

Angelo Ogbonna (6)
Ogbonna is beginning to look very comfortable in the middle of the back three and this is probably his best position at 34 after a serious knee injury. The Italian repelled crosses well and made a couple of vital headed clearances in the second half as Derby launched the ball into the box.

Nayef Aguerd (7)
The Moroccan just looks a level above his peers at the back. Again, he showed his calmness under pressure in build-up, taking extra touches and always finding a positive option while also being comfortable stepping out of defence to enable progression – he even played a lovely low cross in for Bowen after advancing down the left flank in the second half. Wonderful player. We’re lucky to have him.

Ben Johnson (7)
Johnson could’ve given away a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Curtis Davies in the box, and his simple mistakes in otherwise routine situations can frustrate, but there were lots of positives that the right-back can take from this performance. Despite his higher and wider positioning, which he isn’t brilliantly suited to, he did manage to regularly contribute positive supply to the frontline, with good crosses and forward balls, while generally looking comfortable defensively.

Flynn Downes (7)
Confident, assured, and comfortable throughout, Downes made a real impression in this match as he picked his moments to step out and press perfectly while otherwise keeping things ticking and doing the simple things superbly well in midfield. He might not have done much that caught the eye but he barely put a foot wrong for 90 minutes.

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Tomáš Souček (8)
This was probably Souček’s best performance this season as the Czech midfielder was free to roam forward with Downes keeping things stable behind. He combined with Antonio brilliantly to set Bowen up for the opening goal and provided some wonderful switch passes and crucial interceptions in the first half. Much quieter in the second period.

Emerson (7)
So much better! With a run of games at wing-back, Emerson is beginning to offer the requisite directness to fully realise the potential of the system. His carrying and combinative quality will be vital to the success of this approach and, for the 15 minutes that he shared the pitch with Fornals and Benrahma, we caught a glimpse of what he can really offer.

Jarrod Bowen (6)
It’s great to see Bowen back amongst the goals, and he can be pleased with the role that he played in both of the key moments last night, but on review he may think about the pass he should have played to set up either of Antonio or Fornals before his first, or the chance he spurned to make it 3-0 in the second half. Confidence is key to generating that good rhythm in the final third again, and this recent flurry of contributions will help bring that, but he can be so much better.

Michail Antonio (7)
Though he got his goal early in the second half, Antonio was at his best in the first 45 minutes as West Ham sat behind the ball and allowed Derby to step onto them before winning possession and scything forward on the counter. Here, Antonio’s hold-up and link-up play were huge positives in exploiting the space in behind the Rams’ backline. As Moyes’ side took more control after the break, paralysis of choice in the final third began to undermine Antonio’s initially positive display.

Pablo Fornals (5)
I’d say that Fornals’ radar appeared to be off in this match but that would be too harsh. The Spaniard constantly spotted the right options, he just failed to execute the required passes to actuate his ideas. Although he was better when moved into a more central position in the second half, he will know that he can offer lots more.

Saïd Benrahma (8)
Something about a second half Benrahma cameo just feels so good. The Algerian is such a livewire off the bench and he added so much energy, inventiveness, and directness when he came on for the final 25 last night. He set-up two excellent shooting opportunities for Bowen and Johnson and will probably feel a little disappointed to have come away without at least an assist.

Aaron Cresswell, Divin Mubama, Manuel Lanzini – N/A

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