Mark Noble is hoping West Ham United’s ‘firm base’ of Pedro Obiang, Declan Rice and the captain himself can provide the foundation for victory over Chelsea on Sunday.
The skipper formed part of a new-look three-man midfield at Everton last weekend, with the trio’s outstanding work-rate and intelligent use of the ball playing a huge part in the Hammers’ 3-1 win at Goodison Park.
Noble and Obiang both registered assists, while the Spaniard also played a decisive ball through which led to Andriy Yarmolenko’s opening goal. Now, the challenge is to repeat their individual and collective performances against the unbeaten Blues.
I felt we had a real firm base in midfield with myself, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice. We knew our jobs
“Our manager made some changes for last Sunday’s game – and it worked well,” Noble told the Evening Standard. “I felt we had a real firm base in midfield with myself, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice. We knew our jobs.
“I’m not going to get carried away because, yes, we played well and notched a win at a place where we’ve not had too much joy in recent seasons – but now we have two massive challenges in the Premier League – with Chelsea on Sunday followed by Manchester United.
“Against Everton though, we felt like a team, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson defending at the back post in addition to great stuff going forward. That’s how you have to play in the Premier League.”
West Ham will need to hit the same level of performance as they did at Everton, if not higher, if they are to slow Maurizio Sarri’s table-toppers.
With five wins out of five, Chelsea are in fine form under their new Italian manager, with Belgian attacking midfielder Eden Hazard picking up where he left off at this summer’s FIFA World Cup finals.
“We’re looking forward to playing Chelsea on Sunday, the form team in the Premier League at the moment with the form player, Eden Hazard,” Noble observed. “When you’re up close and personal though, I would say that Eden is one of the best I’ve played against.
“He’s so strong, so quick, he’s sharper in the mind than most and in all honesty, he can often do whatever he wants to do out there on the pitch, despite all your efforts to try and stop him. He’s a pleasure to watch but not really a pleasure to play against!”
“How do we approach Sunday’s game, though? With a lot more confidence, a lot more belief, if I’m honest. We know we have to play well, though.”