West Ham Academy’s jewel Ben Johnson was an unsung hero when they defeated Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Mikhail Antonio’s sixth goal of the season made the difference when he shot home from close range after an inch-perfect corner from Aaron Cresswell.
The left-back’s creativity has been critical to the Irons’ success since David Moyes returned for a second stint at the club. He delivered eight assists in the squad last season and has now finally hit the mark for the current season with his good standard ability.
However, it was his full-back who went a little unnoticed in east London.
Is Coufal coming in for Johnson right away?
Under no circumstance!
The 21-year-old defender registered more keys (71) than anyone else on the pitch, including Cresswell (70) and even Declan Rice (58), suggesting that he again represented Coufal to great effect in the absence of Vladimir Coufal.
It also means he was one of the most influential players on the pitch as much of their game went through him – and with those buttons the 5 foot 9 dynamo completed 100% of its flanks, creating a key chance, and even had a shot on target.
He also fulfilled his defensive duties to the tee, recording a whopping five tackles that won 100% of his seven duels and even a clearance, as SofaScore, who also rated him with Cresswell, rated him with a score of 7.7.
Johnson’s performance was even more impressive when you consider he had the massive task of defending against Heung-min Son, who is Spurs’ top scorer on his day and one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League.
Football.london reporter Tom Clark explains that the youngster “did well against Son” while Jack Rosser of the Evening Standard said he “continues to impress when he stands in for Vladimir Coufal. Confident on the ball and in the back behave well. ‘
Based on the above evidence, Rush Green’s 21 year old prodigy has done well on the biggest stage and deserves as much credit as Cresswell and Antonio uniting for the winner.
AND in other news, 10 duels won, 8 tackles: West Ham’s “incredible” £ 60k p / w beast led the show against Spurs …