Former West Ham United midfielder Don Hutchison has praised Hammers central midfield duo Mark Noble and Declan Rice for their performances against Norwich City on Saturday.
Irons boss Manuel Pellegrini went with an unchanged team from the one that defeated Watford last time out, and he was rewarded as his side eased to a 2-0 victory over the Canaries.
“Villa desperately unlucky. Tielemans clear red card. West Ham excellent better side with Noble and Rice in midfield. Man U on a horrendous run (hardly any wins and clean sheets) Sheff Utd team spirit.”
There’s no doubt at this point that West Ham are very much a superior outfit when Noble and Rice are pulling the strings in the centre of midfield. The return to fitness of England international Jack Wilshere this summer – although he didn’t even make the squad on Saturday – opened up a whole can of worms about whether the former Arsenal man would be a better fit alongside Rice than the effervescent Mr. West Ham. In the past two games, though, Noble has firmly rebuffed that theory. The 32-year-old was terrific against Watford, and he followed that up with another assured outing against Daniel Farke’s side. Rice, as ever, was imperious in the middle of the park. Look, Noble can’t go on forever, but for now he is still producing quality performances week in week out, and so he should retain his place in the starting line up until that changes. But, as Hutchison says, the whole West Ham team were excellent on Saturday and so credit must go to them all.