A Noble Effort: Are The Hammers Missing their Captain
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 21 August 2019 at 1:08pm
Written by : @daena_bodie
It’s early doors in the 2019/20 season and West Ham have come away with a loss and a draw, but there has been one noticeable absence from the lineup that may have influenced results in the Hammers opening fixtures – and that’s Mark Noble.
Without Noble in the squad, Pellegrini has struggled to replace the veteran’s leadership. West Ham have had a different captain in both of the season’s opening matches and without Noble amongst the squad something has been missing. It was a valiant effort from Cresswell and Ogbonna to try and fill Noble’s boots, but it’s abundantly clear that West Ham are missing their captain.
Mark Noble has his doubters, but it’s clear for Hammers fans that his influence is crucial. There was a lot of talk prior to the season on how much Noble would feature this year as Pellegrini looks towards a more fluid attacking style of football, but with two unconvincing performances already, are West Ham missing their leader?
West Ham have struggled without Noble in the past and the case remains so far in 2019/20. While many consider the Hammers captain past his best, it’s hard to ignore the fact that he still gets the best from those around him. In his absence, Wilshere has been tasked with partnering Rice in the midfield but hasn’t done much to carry his preseason form into the opening games.
Noble’s return could set Pellegrini’s men back on the right track with a tricky trip to Vicarage Road coming up. While Watford are currently bottom of the table without a goal to their name it doesn’t mean they are relegation contenders, or that this will be a guaranteed win by any means. They faced a rejuvenated Brighton side on the opening day and also came up against a strong Everton team who are really pushing for a top seven finish.
It would be tough to see past Pellegrini wanting to have Noble back in action as the captain incites passion and desire amongst the squad, while also offering balance to what seems an overly attacking starting XI. It’s no secret that the Hammers have been shaky at the back, but those issues may stem from Rice being left exposed as the sole defensive midfield player. Rice and Noble formed a great partnership towards the tail end of last season that helped the Hammers win three in a row to close out 2018/19, but without Mr. West Ham alongside Rice, the team has looked extremely vulnerable.
Undoubtedly, bringing Noble back into the starting XI would make the team a lot more solid defensively, but in possession Noble also compliments Rice in the way they keep the ball and get things going across the park. Once Noble is back, Hammers fans should expect to see some heart restored the team and more discipline all round.
So far, the club has missed their captain, as most often do, but with Noble’s return just around the corner West Ham should look a far more convincing outfit as they look to pick up some crucial early points that will push the club up the table.