By Peter Lynch

23rd May, 2023 | 8:10pm

West Ham United ace Lucas Paqueta puts in performance for the ages v Leeds United, key to Hammers revival

Lucas Paqueta has to be one of the first names on the West Ham teamsheet following his star display against Leeds United on Sunday (21 May).

Like his club, the Brazilian has not had the best of seasons, failing to hit the heights expected of him following his summer move from Lyon.

But again like the Hammers in general, the midfielder has improved as the season has gone on, with his improved form and his club’s improved results undoubtedly going hand in hand.

With just five goals and six assists from his 41 appearances in all competitions for West Ham, Paqueta needs to improve upon those numbers if he is to be remembered long into the future by supporters of the club, particularly given his attacking position on the pitch.

But his displays are much more than just goals and assists, with the 25-year-old showing he is both capable and willing to get involved in the more physical side of things.

There is definitely another level to his game, and it looks set to be seen in full force next season, with the recent clash with Leeds another big step towards that.

As per the official West Ham Instragam account, Paqueta made 106 touches in the 3-1 win, with three key passes from his 73 passes in total.

In an attacking sense, he played a key role with an assist for Manuel Lanzini’s late goal, while in a defensive aspect, the Brazilian made four tackles and won four aerial duels.

Such physicality, and indeed aggression – with Paqueta booked just after the hour mark – was perhaps not expected by boss David Moyes or the Hammers faithful.

But it has definitely been welcomed with open arms, with the midfielder now one of the first names on the teamsheet after his initial struggles in claret and blue.