West Ham United suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday, but David Moyes’ men proved themselves and gave Pep Guardiola’s side a run for their money.
Ruben Dias put City ahead, but they were pegged back by Michail Antonio before John Stones scored the winner for his side.
Antonio became the first West Ham player to score home and away against Man City in a league season since Iain Dowie in 1995-96.
His equaliser was the first home Premier League goal City have conceded since mid-December, ending their 629-minute run of a clean sheet at the Etihad Stadium.
The 30-year-old has now scored seven league goals and assisted another three this term, and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes that the Hammers star and Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy are the best two outlet players in the Premier League right now.
“For the way they play, they are probably the most important players in the league because of the way they play, and they give you such an outlet,” he said.
“They occupy defenders. You can’t just go out drifting, you’ve got to be concentrating every time with the two players.
“They make bad balls into good balls, they hold it up, they concentrate when they get the ball. For how many goals, he’s not got a lot of goals Antonio but he is not a bad finisher.”
🗣”They are the most important players in the league because of the way they play”
Paul Merson says Michail Antonio and Jamie Vardy are the best two outlet players in the Premier League pic.twitter.com/dIBGgFAHLw
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 27, 2021
Antonio scored 10 Premier League goals last term to help West Ham secure their top-flight status, and he is very crucial to how Moyes sets his side up.
He has missed some of the campaign due to the injury, and the Hammers struggled without him.
Having failed to sign a replacement after selling Sebastien Haller to Ajax in January, the London Stadium outfit will hope that Antonio can remain fit for the remainder of the campaign.
His presence up front will help boost their chances of playing in Europe next season, and he is definitely a thorn in the side of Premier League defenders.
Vardy is also another forward that strikes fear into the hearts of centre-backs, and Leicester have established themselves as top six contenders over the last two seasons because of his influence.