Man of the Match: Connor Wickham - 7.28
There must just be something about this time of year that brings out the best in Wickham. Looking interested and always wanting the ball, Wickham thrived in his new role just behind Defoe. Unlucky not to score with a ferocious effort after brilliantly controlling a poor Defoe cross, while also looking solid defensively, stopping West Ham in the middle rather than having to race up and down the left as he has all season. More of the same next week and the Connor Wickham we all expected to see this season may finally have arrived.
Second Place: Costel Pantilimon - 6.54
A much more confident display after the shambles of last week. Having the tallest ‘keeper in the league comes in handy when the opposition insist of throwing cross after cross into the area. Pantilimon rarely looked troubled from such tactics, with the one good opportunity for West Ham headed off target, although the Romanian seemed to have it covered anyway. Although well beaten for the goal, Pantilimon seemed set for a clean sheet, brilliantly denying Song’s powerful effort from distance. His distribution also seemed to improve, and was of greater use with the more direct play.
Last Place: Wes Brown (4.9) / Santiago Vergini (5.21)
Given that Wes Brown was only on the field twelve minutes, it is perhaps unfair to have him bottom of the pile. His only memorable involvement for me was the attempted header in which he injured himself.
Fractionally above Brown is the man who replaced him at the heart of defence. Santiago Vergini, making his first appearance since Hull, never looked comfortable in his favoured central role. His nervous, unconvincing play had fans worried every time he was on the ball. The latest in almost comical defensive moments from the Argentinian came in the form of hugging Kevin Nolan to stop him scoring.
Sebastian Larsson (6.41), Patrick van Aanholt (6.36), John O’Shea (5.95), Adam Johson (5.82), Anthony Reveillere (5.78), Jack Rodwell (5.73), Jordi Gomez (5.6), Steven Fletcher (5.52), Jermain Defoe (5.35).