Marko Arnautovic does not need to get his name on the scoresheet to inspire West Ham United.
That much was clear on Tuesday evening, when the Austrian was again in outstanding form as the Hammers came from behind to win at London Stadium for the first time, grabbing a vital 2-1 Premier League victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Arnautovic covered every blade of grass, pressing the Baggies’ back four relentlessly, while his quality in possession was ultimately the difference between one point and three for David Moyes’ side.
For it was the No7’s powerful run and cross which led to Andy Carroll’s dramatic late winner – but that assist was just one part of another Man of the Match-winning performance from the in-form attacker.
That is now five goals and an assist in his last six matches for Arnautovic, who amazingly went eleven games without being directly involved in a West Ham goal before his recent purple patch.
Arnautovic was literally everywhere, delivering four crosses, including his all-important delivery for Carroll’s decisive goal, embarking on seven dribbles and unleashing two shots on goal, one of which was superbly saved by the impressive Ben Foster in the West Brom goal.
With Arnie bolstering the left flank alongside Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell, West Ham launched 41.9% of their attacks down that wing, compared to just 26.9% down the right.
Only midfielders Manuel Lanzini (11.95km) and Cheikhou Kouyate (11.57km) covered more ground than Arnautovic’s 11.23km, while the Austrian also made 74 sprints, which was 18 more than Lanzini in second-place.
He also attempted 25 passes, 22 of them in the West Brom half, and two of which were considered to be key passes, in that they set up goal attempts for his teammates. The first was fired wide by Lanzini, while the second, moments after half-time, was diverted inches over the crossbar by Carroll.
In addition, he also made an interception on halfway, which led to a blocked Masuaku shot, and even helped out at the defensive end with three clearances and by winning five of the six individual duels he was involved in. With seven minutes to play, he also raced back to the edge of his own penalty area to block Craig Dawson's cross, showing further evidence of his outstanding work-rate.
So, while Carroll may have dominated the headlines with his two well-taken goals, Arnautovic continued his rich vein of form with another influential performance.
West Ham fans will be hoping for more of the same at Wembley Stadium on Thursday night!