Mark Noble hit the back of the net for West Ham United for the 50th time in Tuesday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace at London Stadium – but the captain brings far more to his team than just goals.
He illustrated that with another excellent all-round performance on his Club-record 305th Premier League appearance in Claret and Blue.
The No16 covered more ground against the Eagles than any other West Ham player with 11.79km. He covered that ground at an average speed of 7.08km/h, again ranking him first among the Hammers’ starters.
As Noble’s Opta heatmap shows, he was all over the pitch.
He made more passes (50) than any other Hammer, completing 74% of them to place fourth behind Declan Rice, Cheikhou Kouyate and Joao Mario in that statistical category.
Interestingly, 17 of Noble’s 37 completed passes were to wing-backs Aaron Cresswell and Sam Byram, who provided willing attacking outlets down both flanks. Indeed, no two West Ham players combined more often than Noble and Byram’s nine.
The right wing-back - himself impressive on his first Premier League start of the season – also combined well with a resurgent Cheikhou Kouyate and the pair were a regular target for Adrian’s long goal kicks, undoubtedly a tactic to keep the ball away from Palace’s aerially dominant centre-back pairing of James Tomkins and Martin Kelly.
With the 24-year-old playing an influential role in West Ham’s game plan, Byram pushed Noble into second place when it came to touches of the ball, making 79 to the skipper’s 69.
However, defensively, Noble was also hugely important to his injury-depleted side, winning 12 of his 15 duels and regaining possession on a team-high nine occasions.
He also lifted the pressure on his team by earning three free-kicks, all of them using his experience to position his body to make it impossible for his opponent to fairly win the ball.
It was his goal which took the headlines, though, and rightly so, as it earned his team another valuable Premier League point.
Noble joined a select band of just 32 players when he scored his 50th goal for West Ham United in Tuesday’s Premier League draw with Crystal Palace at London Stadium.
He became the first player since Carlton Cole, who hit the landmark in a Championship fixture at Birmingham City on Boxing Day 2011, and just the fourth this millennium after Paolo Di Canio, Marlon Harewood and his long-time teammate and friend Cole.
While he has taken more games than the other three to reach his half-century, Noble is a midfielder, rather than a forward, albeit one who takes penalties. Indeed, 31 of his 50 goals for the Hammers have come from the spot.
But, as the numbers above clearly show, Mark Noble is about far more than scoring goals. He is the beating heart of the West Ham United team, as he has been for the past decade.
No player gives more to the Hammers, physically and emotionally, than the captain.