West Ham earned a vital three points away at Watford yesterday, and Michail Antonio’s introduction after 55 minutes proved to be the turning point for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
The 29-year-old’s pace and power proved to be a real problem for the Hornets, and he showed Pellegrini why he must be starting every week.
The Hammers have now taken four points from their opening three games, and that is already a massive improvement upon their start last season.
Pellegrini spent heavily in the summer. The Chilean brought in big money signings Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller.
And many were tipping West Ham for a top seven finish.
The Hammers were ripped apart by Manchester City on the opening day, however, and drew 1-1 away at Brighton the following weekend.
And West Ham fans were left wondering whether they would be in for another disappointing campaign.
That’s why yesterday’s win at Watford was so important. It has given the players and fans renewed hope, and it would be no surprise to see them beat Norwich City next week.
West Ham fans were obviously delighted with yesterday’s win, and some of them took to Twitter, praising Michail Antonio for his display:
Noble is so important to us but we must ask what was Pellegrini thinking not starting Antonio! The guy has been superb all season. Lanzini excellent and credit where credit is due. Ogbonna has an excellent game
— Richard Knott (@RichardKnott2) August 24, 2019
I thought Antonio was the game changer for us…stretched their defense, before that it was pretty even apart from them missing some glaring chances!
— costahammer (@costahammer) August 24, 2019
Noble or Haller motm & Antonio must start
— Bonzo (@BonzoBlueEyes) August 24, 2019
Rice was class aswell especially in the second half and completely agree with Antonio starting looked so dangerous
— Makonnen (@Makonnennnnn) August 24, 2019
Feel bad for Yarma, but now he can’t start. Antonio brings so much more to the game and it was painful to see Yarma play, injury has literally crippled his ability. Great performance nonetheless. COYI
— JackSlimBould (@BouldSlim) August 24, 2019
Been fuming about Antonio not starting but do you think he’s better when he comes on @ExWHUemployee ? His pace and strength when the teams are stretched. Otherwise I struggle to see how he doesn’t start
— Imahappyhammer78 (@Imahappyhammer1) August 24, 2019
Antoinio made the difference that’s all. They were still walking through us like knife through butter at the back
— Christopher Thorpe (@thorpe9214) August 24, 2019
And a difference when Antonio came on
— ray cox (@ragcox) August 24, 2019
Agreed, with @Noble16Mark. We looked more cohesive and up for it. Antonio is a menace when he comes on
— Roger (@rogueIRONolas) August 24, 2019
Antonio, who earns £70,000 per week according to Spotrac, seems to be well up for it this season, and Pellegrini will surely be tempted to play him from the start against Norwich City next week.