By Will Butcher
Football Insider analyses three talking points from West Ham’s 1-1 draw against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday evening.
Different team without 28-year-old
West Ham lacked any kind of striker threat against the Hornets. Michail Antonio was used out of position once again as a centre forward as the Hammers struggled to break down Walter Mazzarri’s Watford away from home. Playmakers Sofiane Feghouli, Robert Snodgrass and Manuel Lanzini provided the delivery for Antonio, but his lack of knowledge in leading the line was evident. It means that the Hammers will be sweating on the fitness of first-choice target man Andy Carroll this week, as the England international continues to struggle with a groin problem.
Give Sam Byram a chance
A moment of madness from makeshift right-back Cheikhou Kouyate spoiled what was a solid performance from the Hammer away from home in Hertfordshire, as he bundled over attacker Mauro Zarate in just the third minute of the match. Inexperienced on the right side of defence, Senegal captain Kouyate was caught on the wrong side of the Argentinian before producing a clumsy tackle that saw former Birmingham City star Zarate hit the deck. Now, Kouyate should be dropped in favour of former Leeds right-back Sam Byram, who specialises in that area of the pitch.
Why Mark Noble deserves call-up
Noble’s consistency this season has been fantastic. In every game, Noble’s array of passing has caught the eye. Possessing the ability to find the back of the net as well as adding an extra defensive blanket over his defence, the Hammers captain has shown he is in better form than the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Jordan Henderson. With Gareth Southgate soon to pick his Three Lions squad ahead of March’s fixtures against Lithuania and Germany, Noble’s form should see him called up to England’s squad for the first time in his career,
In other West Ham news, Robert Snodgrass has given this verdict on reported interest from a huge European club.