West Ham’s new No.10


After the victory over Crystal Palace many performances caught the eye, but perhaps none more so than that of Mauro Zarate.

When the rumour first floated around Twitter that Kevin Nolan was injured and would be out for a few weeks I don’t think I was alone in dismissing it as nonsense, however for once a Twitter rumour was actually accurate and the end result was Mauro Zarate giving El Capitano himself a lesson in how to play the number 10 role.

Whilst when Nolan plays behind the striker he’s forever on the periphery of the game, Zarate however is at the hub: he drops deep, links play, is able to beat people with a deft drop of the shoulder and his mobility and movement bring a completely different dimension to the position.

Kevin Nolan had two fantastic seasons playing in the hole; his first two at West Ham yielded 23 goals from that position, last season however whilst Nolan did wind up being our top scorer his goals came in a glut of about 7/8 games and with the exception of that run his contribution was minimal at best.

The performance put in by Zarate at Selhurst was every inch what the modern day number 10 should be about and his goal was something special, surely the most spectacular scored in the league so far this season.

It’s difficult to see when Nolan recovers from his shoulder injury how he will win his place back in the team, Nolan and Big Sam go way back and certainly in the past its been made clear that unless Nolan is unavailable, regardless of form he is an instant starter in Sam’s book. However at 32 years of age and with younger more talented players who can play in his position in Enner Valencia, Ravel Morrison and of course Zarate can the captain still be the first name on the team sheet?

Nolan’s incarnation of the number 10 role is very much based on not really being involved in the game but popping up at the right place at the right time and grabbing a goal every now and then, and for his first two seasons it worked and worked very well. In many ways Nolan was the perfect character to lead us back into the Premier League and keep us up in the first two seasons.

However we’re now in our 3rd season back, the squad is undeniably stronger and that was epitomised by the performance put in by Mauro Zarate in Nolan’s absence; a performance full of verve, energy, sharpness and clever movement.

After Zarate’s master class can we really go back to Nolan’s by comparison ineffective performances?

No, not if this team is going to continue to evolve.

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  • Legends says:

    agree. Zarate proved what west ham have been missing in that position for years. let’s hope he gets a good run in the team and doesnt get sidelined after his first average game (which will happen of course) for nolan. … i think Zarate also brought the best out of noble, who was looking forward and playing the ball into the feet of Zarate. Noble historically could be criticised for playing the easy sideways and backwards passes, but with a player like zarate who can receive it turn his marker and put us in on attack in front of their back 4, i think we’ve found a player who can completely change our attacking style of play. well done noble, zarate, downing and kouyate yesterday! And kouyate almost frees up those ball players with his hard work and team play. more of the same please!

  • peter iron says:

    Great team performance, and the contributions from Zarate , Noble ,Kouyate, Cole and Downing were excellent . Still can’t believe some of the negative anti Sam comments on other sites from the usual trolls ! COYI

    • notanyoldiron says:

      Peter, I must be one of the trolls you speak about. Sam had no choice but to field Zarate yesterday. Had Nolan been fit he would have started. Even non trolls know that! I submit it would have been a different performance. I think the whole team were lifted by Nolan’s ENFORCED absence and Zarate’s arrival. This change was FORCED on Samuel. Not a stroke of genius. Try to keep it in perspective Peter.

      • peter iron says:

        How about giving credit where it is due oldiron !

        • notanyoldiron says:

          I will Peter. Sam isn’t due any for yesterday. It was an enforced change that changed the whole dynamic of yesterday’s game. Perhaps you don’t see it. You know full well that Nolan would have started yesterday. Therefore no Zarate. No Zarate would have meant a different game altogether. This was NOT orchestrated, or planned, or masterminded by the big chap. Sam has inferred that a lot of West Ham fans are deluded. Any fans who believe that Sam masterminded the way we played yesterday,are, indeed deluded. Sorry. It’s just the way it is.

          • peter iron says:

            Well “oldiron” ,as you seem to be dealing in if’s and what might have beens i put it to you that if the anti Sam brigade had it’s way midway through last season then we would probably be playing in the Championship now . By all means be critical when things go wrong , but at least have the grace to give credit for what was a good performance !

  • ian says:

    Zarate is superb,never go back to Nolan.This is what we’ve been crying out for Allardyce.Cant wait to see Valencia and Zarate in attack at Upton park,class

  • Frankie boy says:

    The new guys were brilliant yesterday. Let’s hope that we can keep going in the same vein. Can’t really see a way back for Nolan. Also, well done to CC & Vaz.

  • Rodrigo says:

    What is paramount, is that people stick with Zarate for the odd poor game. It is impossible to play well in that position every game as it is the hardest to perform in. Tight space, creating chances, beating players, scoring goals. We need to stick with Zarate when it is isn’t working, because when it is, he’s special. If Nolan gets back into the team over him, then it will show Allardyce’s lunacy. There is NO room for sentiment in football. You pick the best players ens of. Nolan couldn’t even dream of executing the movement and touch, shown by Zarate yesterday. He should be a mainstay in the team.

  • firefighterx says:

    Great posts agree with all that’s been said.. Do hope BFS can keep it going. I’ve been one of CCs biggest complainers But have also said anyone playing where and as he has is going to struggle until yesterday he’s had no one dropping in behind or getting up to help. WELL done you Irons watched it on the net and For once really had a great day..

  • Rich says:

    When you need someone to stand on a keepers toes, Kevin Nolan is the best in the world….. until that point, or when you need a “proper” No. 10 who understands the concept of “movement”, please send for Mr Zarate. He was a joy to watch, even if he did get a bit knackered in he second half.

    Kouyate, Downing and Noble were also fantastic yesterday. COYI

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