Michael Antonio’s brace fired West Ham United in the top four and one step closer to qualifying for a place in Europe next season.
The Irons beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moore to move within three points of Premier League rivals Chelsea, thanks in large part to the goal-scoring feats of the returning 31-year-old striker.
But for Antonio, he will be bitterly disappointed that he did not leave with the ball for the match, having missed numerous chances while being a hat trick, despite being awarded the Sky Man “Man of the Match” award.
And he, of course, deserves a lot of applause, but there were others who had an underestimated impact at night and deserve just as much praise.
David Moyes had to miss his starting XI, as there was a surprising absence of Mark Noble. The 58-year-old chose Manuel Lanzini in a deeper role, along with Tomasz Sucek, and what a decision it turned out to be.
Who was your Irons MOTM against Burnley
The Argentine, who has been linked with leaving the London stadium in recent weeks, gave a master class in midfield and may have been Moses’ unsung hero; he has every right to demand Antonio such high recognition.
According to SofaScore, the dynamo with a rating of 9 million pounds was one of the most influential players on the field, recording more touches (90) than any other player.
Clearly, most of the visitors’ game went through him, and he rewarded that faith with a very complete display, both in attack and defense.
Lanzini gave one key pass from his 74 attempts, completing 95% of his attempts. Again the best of all players on the Turf Moor field on Monday night.
He very rarely lost possession, proving that it was difficult to get the ball out, as he lost the ball only six times, which was the lowest of any Irons starter.
In addition, and perhaps surprisingly, given that it is an attacking option, the 28-year-old made a backhand by registering two permits, winning two duels and making one fight via SofaScore.
This kind of diligent box-to-box display certainly proved to be a big reason why West Ham could dominate the big spells in this game and why they managed to give Antonio so many golden opportunities.
Lanzini, who earns £ 70,000 a week in East London, was even ranked better than Sucek, Jesse Lingard and assistant assistant at football.london and all three may be in the Player of the Year competition, so this speaks volumes about how good he was.
In what was his 156th appearance in burgundy and blue, Lanzini was Irons’ unmanifested hero, and he rightly deserves such high acclaim.
In other news, West Ham have dealt a significant blow to the best attacking goal …