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4th Feb, 2017 | 4:56pm

27-year-old must be axed: Three things we learned about West Ham in win v Southampton

By Harvey Byrne

Football Insider analyses three talking points from West Ham’s 3-1 win against Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Kouyate must be axed

Slaven Bilic made the decision to play the usual midfielder on the right side of his defence against Southampton. However, the Croatian manager is now fortunate that he is not regretting the decision. Cheikhou Kouyate was caught out for the Saints’ first goal and he was also at fault for a number of other attacks. West Ham could be punished in the future if they persist with the 27-year-old in the full-back role when they play against a better team. He is a very good midfielder, but doesn’t have the attributes to be a full-back and must be axed from the position in the future.

Obiang is an unsung hero

There were talks in the summer that midfielder Pedro Obiang could be on his way out of east London and West Ham fans would not have been too bothered. However, this season he has shown that he has the abilities needed to be a consistent performer in the Premier League and has featured 26 times for the Hammers in all competitions this season. The Spaniard was the star of the show against Southampton, finishing with a goal and an assist through some delightful play and his displays this season have shown that he is very much the unsung hero of the current West Ham team.

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West Ham are the ‘best of the rest’

Below the top seven of the Premier League there is a mini-league considered the rest of the English top flight. Southampton have often been considered the best side of the teams underneath the elite, but the Hammers’ convincing victory on Saturday has shown that they have now taken the mantle. West Ham have suffered heavy defeats against Manchester United and City in recent times showing they are not yet ready to compete with the big clubs in the league. But, they have certainly turned their season around after a poor start to the campaign.

In other West Ham news, fans reacted on Twitter to Lanzini’s axe from the line-up before the match.

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