Opinion from the stands

Paul Merson Says West Ham are Lost Without Mark Noble On The Pitch

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Former Arsenal and England forward Paul Merson completely wrote West Ham off when they lost captain Mark Noble to an injury during their clash with Burnley on Saturday.

The skipper remains an important cog in the Hammers setup despite his career winding down, now at the age of 32. Noble was forced off the pitch after taking a knock to the ankle in the match against the Clarets; and the Hammers would go on to lose 3-0, with the veteran midfielder having left the pitch while they were 1-0 down.

The injury comes at a time when the London side will have a two-week rest period courtesy of the current international break. They’re set to return to action against a struggling Tottenham Hotspur on November 23.

Merson was full of praise for Noble on Sky Sports’ The Debate in the wake of the loss, stating that everyone might as well have gone off after the injury as the Hammers have no direction without him on the pitch.

“As soon as Noble went off injured [against Burnley] after about 10 minutes, you might as well have took the rest of the team off,” he declared (h/t Hammers News). “Without Mark Noble in the team I don’t see who gets this team up, I don’t see who drives them on. It was so lacklustre. He’s the one who drives this team forward, he’s the one who cares, he’s the one who gets everyone going.”

Merson is hardly wrong here. Even at 32, Noble brings so much to the team and it might be a challenge finding someone who could come in and be as impactful when he does decide to hang up the boots.

Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly considering starting David Martin in goal for the Spurs clash if he can impress in training during the break. The Hammers are 14/5 to beat Mauricio Pochettino’s men when they meet at the London Stadium later this month and you could Get the Top Free Bet for the Premier League 2019/2020 if you visit freebets.com.

Spurs are 10/11 to win the match with Bet365, who are also offering odds of 13/5 on a draw. You could also get 4/9 odds on both teams finding the back of the net with Ladbrokes; the bookmakers are offering 6/4 on a “No” as it relates to both Spurs and West Ham scoring.

England captain Harry Kane is the favourite to open the scoring at 17/5 with both 888sport and Unibet. Said bookies have odds of 23/4 odds on Son Heung-Min while Lucas Moura is at 6/1. Hammers striker Sebastian Haller is also 6/1 on that front and fellow forward Albian Ajeti is 8/1.

The Hammers reported that Noble was due for a scan on his injured ankle, announcing as much on Sunday while providing an update on Manuel Lanzini, who was also injured during the match against Burnley. The Argentinian had surgery on his collarbone in London on Monday and is likely to miss significant time.

Noble, on the other hand, is expected to be fit for the upcoming clash against Tottenham. That is according to talkSPORT’s Ray Parlour.

“Yeah he’s good, his injury is not as bad as thought,” the former Arsenal man said via the aforementioned outlet this week. “He went off against, Burnley, poor result, but I think, hopefully, he is fit for the Tottenham game which is the next game coming up for West Ham.”

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