Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has been left wowed by West Ham United captain Mark Noble, who is playing ‘better than he ever has’.
The 32-year-old is enjoying a fine start to the season alongside Declan Rice in the centre of midfield, and Nicholas believes the skipper will lead his side to a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“This is a nice London derby,” he wrote on the Sky Sports website. “Crystal Palace are slightly better away from home, but it’s hard to tell sometimes. Wilfried Zaha looks like he may be over the transfer situation, while Mark Noble is playing better than he ever has.
“It was a good point for West Ham at Bournemouth when normally they would have folded. This is the best West Ham side I have seen in a long while and I think Sebastian Haller will be the fans favourite, finding the net again.”
This is all very exciting from a West Ham point of view, isn’t it? Nicholas is obviously very confident that they will secure victory on Saturday over a Palace side who have enjoyed a fine start to the season in their own right. We’ve seen sign of progress from the Hammers, with their victory over Manchester United a highlight and their comeback against the Cherries last weekend very enlightening, but this will be a big test. This is the sort of game that, at home, proper teams win. With Noble playing as he as, they should have a chance. The Englishman has been his all-action self this term, but he seems to have taken his all-round game to another level. As per WhoScored.com, the veteran midfielder is currently averaging 47.6 passes a game, with an enviable pass success rate of 85.3%. Meanwhile he’s knocking 3.4 long balls forward, making the most of Haller’s formidable physical presence. Then there’s his 1.4 tackles per outing. This is a man in form, who can do a bit of everything. If he plays well then the Irons can certainly secure the victory Nicholas expects at the London Stadium.