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Obiang proving vital for West Ham

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 November 2016

West Ham United's Pedro Obiang lies injured during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

West Ham United's Pedro Obiang lies injured during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Midfielder impressed once again against Tottenham

Sunderland's Lamine Kone (left) and West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.Sunderland's Lamine Kone (left) and West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

West Ham may still be struggling just above the drop zone in the Premier League, but one man has made a huge difference to their starting line-up.

When Cheikhou Kouyate was put back into a three-man central defensive unit, it gave a chance for defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang to come into the team and he hasn’t looked back.

The 24-year-old Spaniard is in his second year with the Hammers, but after a tough first season where he was not a regular and did not seem to be part of Slaven Bilic’s plans, there were many who expected the former Sampdoria man to return to Europe.

But he decided to try again this year and it has paid dividends as he has put in some fine displays alongside Mark Noble, or even on his own as he was at Tottenham.

West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (centre) has a shot on goal undre pressure from Everton's Ashley Williams (right) and Bryan Oviedo during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (centre) has a shot on goal undre pressure from Everton's Ashley Williams (right) and Bryan Oviedo during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

Obiang rarely loses the ball and the amount of tackles he wins gives West Ham a lot more possession, which has proved valuable.

However, the results are still not quite coming and he was left distraught on Saturday as West Ham surrendered their 2-1 lead at Tottenham in the final couple of minutes to suffer a 3-2 defeat.

Obiang said: “We were very upset in the dressing room after the final whistle. It was a great game and we tried everything to win, but in the final few minutes we lost the points.”

It was a great game and West Ham matched or bettered Spurs for so long, but after all that effort, they still had nothing to show for it.

West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (right) and Stoke City's Glenn Whelan (left)West Ham United's Pedro Obiang (right) and Stoke City's Glenn Whelan (left)

“We need to be positive because we have played well, but in recent games we have lost matches in the second half and we need to change something,” he added.

The games do not come any easier. They played excellently at White Hart Lane and left empty-handed and it could be a similar story against Manchester United in league and cup, at home to Arsenal and at Liverpool.

“We have another big game next week against Manchester United and we know it will be another tough game,” added Obiang.

“If we had won against Tottenham it would have made things easier for us going into that game, but we have to keep going.”

There were plenty of plusses to come out of Saturday’s game, not least the display of Diafra Sakho in his first game of the season up front.

He may not have scored, but he gave the team a new attacking purpose as Obiang appreciated.

“We have to take the positives out of the game. It was good to see Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew back in action and Darren Randolph made some good saves, so we have to stay positive,” he said.

One of the big positives in every game at the moment is Obiang himself and with Noble back for the trip to Old Trafford, the team will be hoping for a change of luck.


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