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Recorder Series West Ham United correspondent Dave Evans reflects on Dimitri Payet’s outstanding Hammers debut
Recorder Series West Ham United correspondent Dave Evans reflects on Dimitri Payet’s outstanding debut and looks ahead to Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie in Malta…
As debuts go, Dimitri Payet’s has to be one of the best I have ever seen at West Ham United. From the moment the game kicked-off he was on it and he looked dangerous every time he got the ball.

He linked well with Diafra Sakho and brought the wingers Martin Samuelsen and Djair Parfitt-Williams into the game regularly as well.

His two goals were both fairly incredible. The free-kick looked like it was going to go in from the second he hit it, while the second was a great controlled finish into the corner, so there are some exciting times to come from the Frenchman.

The secret will clearly be to give him the ball. He is going to be in the hole and be able to turn with it and do things with it, so if the other midfielders and defenders can give him the ball, he is going to be very effective.

We have to measure our expectations about Dimitri, but on the evidence of his first game he looks top-class.

Talking of Samuelsen, we have seen him twice now at first-team level and he looks really good. He is only a youngster at 18, but he looks tricky and doesn’t mind taking people on.

He won the free-kick for Payet’s first goal on Saturday, is always keen to get involved and he came on in the Europa League last Thursday and looked impressive. He isn’t scared to take his man on, get to the byline and get crosses in, so he looks like he’ll be a nice addition to the squad.

I’m not sure where he will fit into the starting XI, if at all for now, but certainly if there are injuries he could come in or he could step off the bench.

Style-wise, there was certainly a lot more passing of the ball and it looked very smooth with Cheikhou Kouyate looking sharp in midfield and Payet as the main man making things tick. It’s probably a little too early to say how the team is going to play.

A couple of defensive slips mean we should not get carried away, but it was certainly impressive and if this is the new West Ham Way, then it could be exciting.

I get lots of tweets from West Ham fans on social media and the consensus feeling is that the signings last summer were good, but this summer they seem to have moved onto another level. It’s going to be hard to find starting places for a lot of players, so it’s moved onto another level.

Expectation is always high at West Ham, but you never know how things are going to turn out. Obviously the season starts at Arsenal, which is always a difficult place to go, but the opening home games of the season look to be winnable.

If they can start well and confidence is high then they can have a good season in the league.

More immediately, the Europa League is a great novelty. The first home game was a real novelty and everyone wanted to come along and see it in the sunshine.

Last Thursday’s game was a bit of a frustrating one, but they got that all-important goal and that should see them through to the next round, then you never know. The bigger teams start to come in now and there could be some big European nights at the Boleyn to come, but at the minute it’s just about getting through.
*Dave Evans is the only West Ham journalist to follow the team home and away. You can follow him on twitter @Recorder_Hammer.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United.