West Ham United won again in the Europa League, but their celebration was met with empty seats since their fans were barred from the stadium because of their disruption during the Europa Conference League final in June.
With the historic victory, the Hammers became the first English team to play 17 straight European games without suffering a loss. With two victories out of two in the group stage, David Moyes’ team is already leading and already comfortably in reach of advancing to the knockout stage.
Lucas Paqueta scored the opening goal after connecting with Jarrod Bowen’s lovely cross, and although the Bundesliga team equalized soon after the break, Nayef Aguerd headed in a curling James Ward-Prowse corner to secure a third straight victory across all competitions.
Against Freiburg, how did Lucas Paqueta fare?
It will be especially satisfying for Moyes that his team is playing confidently on several fronts right now. West Ham lost two straight Premier League games last month, but those came against Manchester City and Liverpool after winning 2-0 against Sheffield United at the London Stadium.
And at the centre of all that flows is Paqueta, who was duly rewarded for another fine display with his role as the conduit in midfield, making a whopping five key passes to complement his opening strike.
|Lucas Paqueta Game By Numbers (Sofascore)|
The Brazilian maestro has been incredible since joining from French team Lyon for a club-record £51 million last summer. He has already recorded seven goals and eight assists from 50 matches.
While he only completed 69% of his passes at the Stade Europa-Park, this is mainly due to Paqueta’s inventiveness and entrepreneurial mentality on the move, looking for opportunities at every opportunity.
Yes, he put on yet another outstanding performance, but according to Roshane Thomas of The Athletic, Bowen, his teammate and the one who helped him score, was “brilliant again.”
How good was Jarrod Bowen vs Freiburg?
Bowen’s cross for Paqueta’s opener takes his seasonal tally up to five goals and two assists from eight outings, and he has rightfully been heralded for his “unbelievable” seasonal exploits by the likes of talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan.
In Germany, as per Sofascore, he served as the centre-forward and complimented his goal with a key pass, 41 touches and success with four of his five dribble attempts, also winning six duels and taking four shots.
Having received an England call-up earlier in the day, the dynamic forward proved his worth once again as one of the most threatening and multi-faceted of his position.
With metrics also ranking the £60k-per-week star among the top 7% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for interceptions, the top 9% for aerial wins and the top 19% for clearances per 90, as per FBref, he is certainly integral across the different phases of the Irons’ play.
With further displays such as the one against Freiburg, this flourishing gem will only continue to grow, and he is very much the centrepiece of West Ham’s attack and demonstrated his stunning skills once again last night.