A back to back win, the first time in 600 days as I have seen quoted, which says a lot about West Ham and consistency. A good result 3-1 against a dogged Cardiff side with a penalty save from one Lucasz (Fabianski) before another Lucus (Perez) came off the bench to score 2 goals.
West Ham team
RB Antonio (Zaba rested and on bench as per quotes from Pellegrini with busy schedule)
CB Ogbonna (Balbuena on bench but had a knock from Saturday)
LB Masuaku (Cresswell minor Hamstring injury)
The crowd was slightly subdued as the match got underway, probably a level of expectancy as it was ‘only Cardiff’ mentality which is always dangerous in the Premier League. Cardiff were organised and showed good energy but did not threaten a lot to start with and didn’t allow West Ham to get going. The first chance came from Anderson playing a great ball to Arnie who could not finish it. Ogbonna was unlucky not to score from a Snodgrass corner after good Etheridge save. Arnie did what Arnie does creating a chance from nothing picking the ball up 30 or so yards from gaol and bursting into the box, again unlucky not to score after an off the line slightly fortunate clearance by Morrison. With Cardiff still in the game Camarasa had a good long range shot comfortably saved by Fabianski before from nothing Arnie gave away a penalty in the 33rd minute which Ralls failed to score from, not the worst penalty but an easy save once Fabianski guessed the right way. This was a turning point as this brought the crowd to life. Then disaster for West Ham and FPL managers as Arnie went down in the box and had to go off which was confirmed post match as a hamstring related injury, on came Lucas Perez upfront to replace him. Camarasa had the last effort of the half from a free kick with Fabianski producing a decent save.
In the second half West Ham came out with a bit more purpose but to be honest I could not see where a goal was going to come from, then Perez nicked the ball and played it to Anderson who showed good pace from the half way line going past the defender where it seemed to come to nothing on the edge of the box, until Snodgrass played in Perez who found space in the box after the Cardiff defence opened up and he produced a tidy and simple finish past the GK. The 2nd goal started down the left again this time Masuaku running down the line with a good ball to Perez making a good run to score. Then on 60 minutes from a Snodgrass corner, Antonio scored with a header to remind us of his goals a couple of season ago to make it 3-0. Carroll came on for Hernandez who did not have many chances but on another day may well of grabbed a goal as the spaces appeared. Diangana came on for Snodgrass going to the right wing and looked lively and a reminder of his ability to the manager creating a chance following a corner he took, as well as a good shot which was saved after another impressive ball from Anderson. Another Clean sheet seemed likely until in injury time from a corner the ball was not cleared and after some jostling in the box Cardiff scored, in this age where goalkeepers are over protected It maybe should not have stood, as Gunnarsson blocked off and backed into Fabianski, but fair play to Cardiff who kept going.
The important question Arnie’s injury and Perez and Hernandez
So FPL and West ham fans drew a breath when Arnie went down even more so when he was seen walking off and Perez coming on, some FPL managers may look at the fixtures and look at Perez and Hernandez who have both scored 2 goals in recent games and both 6.2 in FPL.
The main worry as a fan is that what we lose with no Arnie, which his physicality and ability to pick the ball up, burst forward and get a shot away/score, none of the other options, Perez, Hernandez or Carroll offer this but can than they be viable still in FPL? as that is about points with West Ham having a good set of 6 fixtures with Palace (H), Fulham (A), Watford (H), Southampton (A), Burnley (A) and Brighton (H).
Perez took his goals well, his movement creating the space and opportunity on both occasions, of course this drew praise from the manager saying he had nothing to prove, and that they know his quality. We have not seen much in the Premier League yet of him as he has not had a sustained run. From his Deportivo days he scored 18 goals in 37 games in the 2015/16 season but has tailed off since. In the Cardiff game he had 2 shots 2 goals but was not a focal point of the team like Arnie is, after the 2 goals he may get a start v Palace and with a run no one can say for certain but has no previous Premier League pedigree or history to base it on, but was signed by Pellegrini so that goes in his favour.
Hernandez, scored 2 and looked good V Newcastle with 4 goal attempts all in the box, he played 90 minutes, in the Cardiff game he had 0 goal attempts or shots in the 64 minutes played before subbed for Andy Carroll, he looked ok and may have just not got the breaks he was looking for in and around the box, with Perez scoring he was the obvious choice to be subbed of the two and its possible this was with Saturday in mind and to give Carroll some minutes. Looking at Hernandez in FPL his best ever season netted 110 points from 1491 minutes in 2010/2011, he is either sub or subbed a lot of course but with West Ham’s games he could net you points
Summary and conclusions
The problem picking West Ham forwards now is that they come with too much risk and unknowns. Perez and Hernandez are similar in the sense they are in the box strikers. I don’t know for sure if they will start together and if Pellegrini continues or not with 2 strikers whilst Arnie is out. If that is for a few weeks then yes one or both could benefit, but then there is Carroll who probably starts on the bench but will probably get minutes also. Depending on when Arnie is back one of Perez or Hernandez drop out again, even when Arnie is back it’s more risky now as he seems blighted with niggling injuries.
For me I think Anderson is the safest attacking option if you want a West Ham attacking player, as he will start unless rested over the busy schedule like any Premier League players can and will be. He has improved since the start of the season and is doing well against the non top 6 sides, getting more space against weaker teams even more so when the team has scored he is scoring, creating chances and you can see his confidence and in turn output improving further. He has scored more FPL points than Arnie but has played more minutes. Both have 9 bonus points and have scored 5 goals now, with Anderson more creative and is the least risk of rotation. The only risk is the team and their performance without Arnie, but if they can continue scoring and winning Anderson will be involved more often than not.