Fabian Balbuena grabbed his first goal in Claret and Blue at the weekend.
The summer signing netted the opener in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. And in a cruel twist of fate, Leicester’s late equaliser took an unfortunate deflection off Balbuena to end up in the net.
But it was his all-round performance which once again drew plaudits.
We take a look at his performance in numbers, as sourced from Who Scored, and judge how important he has been for the Irons.
Like most weeks, Balbuena topped the charts in terms of defensive stats.
“The General” made two tackles and two interceptions, as well as a stunning 15 clearances.
This dogged defensive display helped keep a talented Leicester attack at bay for 89 minutes. And it was especially commendable considering captain Mark Noble had been sent off before half-time.
The Paraguay international grabbed his first goal for West Ham against Leicester.
Felipe Anderson’s free-kick was headed across goal by Declan Rice and Balbuena managed to stay onside.
The 27-year-old’s initial header hit the inside of Kasper Schmeichel’s post and the ball agonisingly rolled along the goal-line in what seemed like slow motion.
But quick thinking got Balbuena on the score sheet. As the Leicester players froze and waited, Balbuena picked himself off the turf and bundled the ball in from close range.
Balbuena is looking a steal at £3.5m. In today’s market, this is ridiculously good business by the Hammers.
The dominant defender is getting a reputation for his reliable and consistent displays at the back.
It seems that attacks really struggle to break through the wall formed by Balbuena and Issa Diop.
Balbuena was a genuine bargain and hopefully he can form a budding partnership with Diop for many years to come.