Andre Ayew found the net again on Monday as West Ham United beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 to get their season off the mark, with the Ghana international’s consistency a genuine reason for optimism at the London Stadium.
Ayew’s strike—an effort from six yards in the 77th minute—may prove vital as the season wears on.
Admittedly, the Irons already led through Pedro Obiang’s deflected strike five minutes beforehand—with Ayew providing the assist—but Huddersfield enjoyed more of the possession on the day, registered a better pass accuracy and were threatening a resurgence.
Indeed, David Wagner keeps his side so fit and so well drilled, that it was surely imperative that the Londoners bagged a second goal to kill off the contest and ensure the Yorkshiremen returned up north empty-handed.
In the context of the match, the assist and the goal were vital in securing the win.
In the context of the season—and in the context of Slaven Bilic’s apparently diminishing job security—they may prove transformative for West Ham, particularly considering the fate that befell Frank de Boer earlier on Monday.
Some may complain that Hammers fans haven’t yet seen the best of Ayew since his big-money move from Swansea City last summer, and while there’s some truth to that, he continues to be a player who can step up when his teams need him most.
According to Opta, the Black Star has now been directly involved in four goals in his last five Premier League matches, with his goal and assist against Huddersfield matching the two decisive contributions in the victory at Burnley in May.
There was a much more menacing look about West Ham’s forward line in the victory over the Terriers, with Bilic opting to use Andy Carroll as point man, with Chicharito (on the left) and Michael Antonio in support.
The trio offered an able blend of aerial power and physicality, movement and finishing excellence, and pace, yet in all honesty, they struggled to find a way past Huddersfield’s defence before the introduction of Ayew for Javier Hernandez just after the hour mark.
Andre Ayew | 2016-17 Stats
It was a change that reinvigorated the home side, and less than 15 minutes later, they were two goals to the good—with Ayew’s influence critical in the turnaround.
Bilic’s seeming wealth of attacking riches—he can also call upon Manuel Lanzini (injured), Marko Arnautovic (suspended), Diafra Sakho (indifferent)—should ensure the Irons climb up the table over the coming weeks, but despite the competition, it’s unlikely that he won’t find a role for Ayew, who continues to impress as the Hammers’ ace up the sleeve.
The Ghana international now has 11 decisive contributions in 1,696 minutes of Premier League action for the Hammers—which translates as just under 19 matches.
It’s a decent return considering the side’s struggles to adapt to their new home and the forward’s injury woes, but expect Dede to improve as the season wears on. Whoever else Bilic can turn to, the Black Star’s habit of making himself invaluable looks set to continue.