Declan Rice has come in for some criticism from pundits of late but he was arguably the player of the match on Sunday as West Ham drew 1-1 with Aston Villa.
How did Declan Rice perform against Villa?
David Moyes‘ side would earn a point against the Villans at the London Stadium to take them outside the relegation spots on goal difference, but they perhaps could and should have scored more.
While the attackers struggled to produce the goods once again, Rice produced the sort of performance that had seen him valued at a mammoth £150m by Moyes last summer.
As per Sofascore, the England international would earn an impressive 7.7/10 rating for his display, which was the best of any player on the pitch other than the two goalscorers, Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins.
The former, in particular, has enjoyed a fine season in claret and blue, scoring seven goals and supplying five assists in a campaign where very few have been a beacon of hope for the Hammers.
It’s perhaps easy to suggest that he has been the standout man compared to Rice, but the midfielder hit back at his doubters over the weekend.
During the 90 minutes, the 24-year-old would enjoy 63 touches of the ball, completing 41/47 passes with an impressive success rate of 87%.
Rice also played two key passes and created a big chance for the Irons, while he also won 70% of his duels in what was a superb all-round display.
However, it was the defensive side of the game in which the former Chelsea man best excelled, as he contributed a remarkable seven tackles, two interceptions and one clearance at the London Stadium.
Considering he has averaged just 2.2 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game in the top flight so far this season, it is clear just how impressive he was on Sunday afternoon.
The impressive midfielder, who was lauded for his “incredible potential” by former Hammers star Jose Fonte in 2021, has faced criticism from Roy Keane recently for his role in West Ham’s poor season.
The former Manchester United man said: “He’s got to focus on doing well for West Ham this season. I don’t think he’s been that great this season. He’s not really kicked on for all the talk about him and all the PR coming out of west ham about him… I think he needs to do a lot more.
“He doesn’t score enough goals and he doesn’t get enough assists.”
While Rice wasn’t able to contribute a goal today, the big chance he created suggests he was unfortunate not to register an assist, while he also looked back to his best from a defensive point of view.
More performances like his one on Sunday will surely be vital for the Hammers in their ongoing battle against relegation this season.
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