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Defender must be axed: Three things we learned about West Ham in win over Middlesbrough

By Dominic Toner

Football Insider analyses three talking points from West Ham’s win against Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday.

Ogbonna should be axed

Angelo Ogbonna delivered a steady performance in the victory over Boro, but should be axed from the starting line-up. The Hammers look their best when they play with two full-backs Aaron Cresswell and Sam Byram, meaning there is only room for two centre-backs. West Ham recently completed the signing of Jose Fonte from Southampton and he should replace Ogbonna in the side. Winston Reid has proved this season he is the club’s best centre-back and could make a formidable partnership alongside Fonte. Ogbonna looks a decent performer in the Premier League, but is still vulnerable to a mistake and he showcase that against Boro. He is not always reliable in possession and showed weaknesses in his defensive positioning.

Carroll is a star player

Andy Carroll reminded people once again that he is a top Premier League striker when he is fit. The 28-year-old has been plagued by injury during his career and has never had a long run of games in the Hammers side. However, he looks to have put his latest injury knee injury behind him and proved his worth against Boro. He opened the scoring with a trademark powerful header from a corner, before striking again with a predatory finish after the goalkeeper spilled a shot. He has now scored five goals in 14 appearances this season and West Ham are a much better side when he is in it.

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Relegation concerns finally scrapped

West Ham supporters have been anxiously looking over their shoulders at the prospect of a relegation battle after a poor start to the season. However, the club’s victory against Boro should now finally end their concerns of a shock relegation. The Hammers have turned a corner after their poor beginning to the campaign and now should be looking to climb the table. They have moved up to 10th in the Premier League and are now 12 points above the drop zone. Slaven Bilic’s side should be more focused on chasing down seventh-place Everton, who are currently eight points above them.

In other West Ham news, a talkSPORT pundit has delivered a scathing verdict on the club’s transfer business following the signing of Jose Fonte.

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