The former Premier League striker claimed the 29-year-old winger changed the game upon replacing Felipe Anderson at half-time due to him putting himself about and due to him using his strength to make a difference.
“I thought when Antonio came on, he changed the game,” said Crouch on BT Sport 1 (14:46, Saturday, November 23rd).
“It was simple what he did really, put himself about, strong.”
Antonio did wow against Spurs.
The 29-year-old, aside from scoring his lovely goal in the 3-2 loss, completed three dribbles in order to put Spurs on the back foot, and it’s very telling that he was fouled three times as that shows he was too much to handle. (Source: WhoScored)
So Antonio was worth Crouch drooling over, however his praise puts a negative spotlight on the winger’s Hammers teammate.
Crouch pointed out that what Antonio did was very simply against Spurs, as he just put himself about.
So that makes you question why his Hammers teammates didn’t make more an impact against Spurs if all they had to do was put themselves about, as that suggests all they had to do was make an effort.
For example, take Anderson, who Antonio replaced during the game.
The Brazilian failed to have any shots at goal, made no key passes and only completed one dribble, as per WhoScored, yet based on Crouch’s praise of Antonio, those stats make it sounds like Anderson didn’t give 100% and really get stuck in.
This would be unacceptable if that was the case and actually made you not just question Anderson’s attitude, but also question whether Manuel Pellegrini was properly motivating the team.
So with that in mind, while Crouch is right to praise Antonio, surely his words just makes each one of the winger’s struggling teammates’ performances worse.