West Ham just about made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday night as Craig Dawson’s late goal earned the Premier League club a 1-0 win away at National League side Stockport.
David Moyes named a fairly strong starting line-up ahead of the third-round clash at Edgeley Park so there was understandable frustration surrounding how long it took to make a breakthrough against the non-league outfit.
However, there were a few stand-out performances for the Irons and one of them was centre-back Angelo Ogbonna, who showcased his defensive might in a solid performance against Jim Gannon’s side.
According to stats by Wyscout, Ogbonna completed a huge 16 recoveries as the Hammers ground out a narrow victory in Greater Manchester. In all competitions this season, the Italian has averaged 10.23 per cent per 90 minutes so he was far more active on Monday despite playing against lowly opposition.
Ogbonna made four interceptions and three clearances, won four of his seven aerial duels and also won three of his six defensive duels.
He also completed 93 per cent of his passes and four of the six passes he made into the final-third found a West Ham team-mate.
You would expect Ogbonna to make mincemeat out of non-league attackers in the way he did against Stockport but the former Torino man made it look easy at times on Monday night.
Stockport failed to have a single shot on target out of their paltry four attempts [Wyscout] and as you can see in the images below, Ogbonna played a role in that.
The above image shows Ogbonna’s recoveries throughout the game with a vital one coming just on the edge of the six-yard box while the rest were usually out towards the left, which stopped Stockport attacking down the flank and getting crosses into the box.
The above image shows the interceptions that Ogbonna made. Two were in the penalty area with another one just on the edge of the box. They were vital in helping the Irons keep a clean sheet at Edgeley Park to avoid what could have been a potential FA Cup banana skin.
Ogbonna’s been one of the stand-out players of the season at the London Stadium and we’re delighted – and relieved – that Moyes decided to start him against Stockport.
Who knows what would have happened on Monday night if the solid Italian defender wasn’t playing and didn’t play as well as he did?
West Ham face Doncaster in the fourth round of the FA Cup and if they win that, they’ll face either Manchester United or Liverpool.
It’s not the most attractive of draws but if Moyes wants to take this team far, then they’ll have to start playing more convincingly against lower league opposition and give it to one of the Premier League’s leading sides.
In other West Ham news, Arsenal won’t let Eddie Nketiah leave amid interest from the Irons.