From the Terraces - Joe Difford

Fan blogger Joe Difford on Player of the Month Cheikhou Kouyate's impact for the Hammers

Fan blogger and 90min writer Joe Difford on Player of the Month Cheikhou Kouyate's impact for the Hammers...

When Cheikhou Kouyate joined West Ham United in the summer, few had heard of the Senegalese midfielder, but all have been pleasantly surprised ever since. Despite being just 24-years-old, he already has four league winners' medals from his time at Anderlecht, a wealth of Champions League experience and eleven caps for his national side. West Ham had to fight several other clubs for his signature and he had previously been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton.

Immediately settling into Premier League life, Kouyate has been a key figure for the Hammers, featuring in 21 games so far this season, which would have been more had it not been for injury.

Following an impressive debut at home to Spurs on the opening day of the season, Sam Allardyce likened the number eight to ex-Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira and it is easy to see why.

The step up from other European leagues to the Premier League is often considered significant, but it appears to have been no problem for the West Ham man. Kouyate always looks confident on the ball and possesses an unbelievable mixture of speed and strength, allowing him to force his way through an opponent's midfield, seemingly at ease.

The powerhouse netted twice in two games just a few weeks ago, in two of his standout performances in a claret and blue shirt. His goal against Manchester United was simply world class, as he controlled the ball, executed three keepy-uppys and turned to smash home. Having been named the Hammers'  Player of the Month Kouyate is finally getting the credit he deserves for a fantastic start to his West Ham career.

Arguably the midfielder's best game for the Hammers, however, was the 2-2 draw away to Tottenham, where Kouyate bossed the midfield for the full 90 minutes. With Alex Song acting as an anchor behind him, Kouyate was able to drive forward and launch attacks, as well as prevent those against him. He managed an impressive 22 passes, four interceptions, nine aerial duels and two crucial clearances. His box-to-box style is something Hammers fans haven't seen in a very long time and when Kouyate gets the ball at his feet, you can feel the excitement build around Upton Park.

A great midfielder he is, but Cheikhou Kouyate has already had to show his versatility this season, acting as a centre back in the midst of an injury crisis in defence. To those who aren't familiar with the Senegalese man, however, you would assume it is his natural position, as his aerial ability and pace make for a natural centre half.

As this season comes to a close, Cheikhou Kouyate is being touted as one of the best signings of the season not just for the Hammers, but in the Premier League. Having already enjoyed an exciting and promising first season at the club, the powerhouse looks set to become one of West Ham United's key men in the coming years.

For more West Ham fan views or to join the conversation visit