We’ve been waiting for a special moment to take place at the London Stadium since West Ham moved in back in the summer. Six months later it looks as though Hammers fans finally got that, but it came with a cost.
Without doubt, Andy Carroll’s incredible overhead kick to secure all three points in a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at the weekend was West Ham’s biggest moment of the season – on the pitch.
Off it? That’s a completely different story.
Dimitri Payet’s antics in recent days have meant it’s now more likely we’ll see Sir Trevor Brooking in a Slaven Bilic starting XI before the 29-year-old returns to his boss’s plans.
Despite reportedly taking a £1m loyalty bonus from his employers back in September, Payet has already expressed his desire to leave the east London outfit, ruling himself out of any upcoming game for the Hammers.
And the fact that the club themselves have come out and told the media of the France international’s wishes makes it all but impossible to imagine him ever stepping onto a football pitch in the famous claret and sky blue again.
But while that news carried with it the potential to make West Ham’s season 10 times worse than it already is, Payet’s unprofessional attitude has done little to distract his teammates from the current task at hand.
The former Marseille man clearly wasn’t thinking about his colleagues when he announced he wanted to leave. But credit to the rest of the squad, who just as clearly gave no thought to him as they confidently went about their business against Palace.
In fact, while he’s considered by many as West Ham’s most creative player, in his absence at the weekend, Bilic’s men scored more than two goals for just the second time this season.
And there are plenty more reasons for supporters to feel optimistic about life after Payet…
He may consider himself a key member of this West Ham side, but it’s worth noting that the Hammers have won two of the three games in which he hasn’t featured this season.
And he’s actually been more wasteful this campaign than he was in his debut Premier League season, with a 43 per cent shot accuracy.
That’s 12 per cent worse than the figure he recorded last time out.
He was also averaging 3.9 chances per game in the 2015-16 campaign, whereas this year he’s managing just 2.3 per game.
It doesn’t end there either.
Payet had already registered an impressive six goals after 21 games last campaign, despite missing seven of those through injury.
His tally this time around makes for different reading altogether though, as he has just two strikes to speak of from 18 outings.
If you’d have asked us a few weeks back who we thought was going to be the man to kick-start West Ham’s below-par campaign, we’d have said two words: Dimitri Payet.
And in a roundabout way, he’s done exactly that.
What do fans think? Would Bilic be right to sell him, or can he still have an important role to play for the Hammers this season?
Have your say in the comments section below!
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