West Ham news: Michail Antonio lauded as top-six standard

West Ham's Michail Antonio

West Ham United had the instinctive edge of Michail Antonio to thank for their narrow 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday evening. 

Antonio showcased his poacher's instinct inside the penalty area to convert Andriy Yarmolenko's loose header with a finely executed volley on the half-turn. 

It took the 30-year-old's tally to five in 11 Premier League games so far this season in a month in which the Hammers appear desperate to bring a new centre-forward into the club. 

Sebastien Haller's rather surprising departure added him to a growing list of strikers who have failed to make the grade in east London.

But throughout the club's struggle to recruit a potent goal scoring machine to catapult West Ham into the European places, Antonio has continued to provide a prolific presence at the spearhead of the attack.

And that's a point Sky Sports journalist Ron Walker was eager to make following his match-winning strike against the Baggies in midweek.

Walker had this to say about Antonio in his post-match analysis: "The 30-year-old Antonio deserves his own mention. Bigger, perhaps better, attacking players have come to the London Stadium to take West Ham to the next level.

"He has seen them all off. At his peak, when fit, he is capable of leading the line of a team heading for Europe. And the signs increasingly suggest the team behind him are good enough to get there too."

GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...

Antonio is a bustling, menace of a striker when he's in top form.

Recurring injury problems have been an unwanted feature of his career, but when he's fit he offers a blend of attacking qualities - constant running in the channels, clinical finishing and a stark approach to hold-up play - that few in the division can match.

West Ham's reported £27m bid for Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri proves that the club are serious about maximising their ambitions for the season, with an unlikely bid for Europe looking increasingly more plausible in recent weeks. 

However, as Walker suggests in his analysis, Antonio is more than capable of providing the type of goal threat the Irons need to mount a challenge for Europe, and that's unlikely to be wasted on David Moyes at the halfway stage of the campaign.

Having seen off challenges from the likes of Javier Hernandez and Haller more recently, Antonio will be hoping to stay fit and improve on his career-best return of 10 Premier League goals he posted in the 2019/20 season.

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