The 23-year-old joined West Ham from Sampdoria this summer and made his Premier League debut as a second-half substitute in the 2-1 home defeat to Leicester City.
Despite not having the debut he would have particularly wanted, Obiang’s class shone through and there were promising signs for the challenges ahead.
He ended up missing his side’s ensuing defeat to Bournemouth, but returned to the team for their trip to Liverpool and his presence in the holding role made such a big difference.
|Tackles||Interceptions||Def Duels Won||Aerial Winners||Ball Recoveries||Accurate Passes||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Obiang starred in a number of key areas as he kept the Reds’ attacking players quiet and helped instigate counterattacks with quick, snappy passing.
The Spanish ace contributed with two tackles, four interceptions, seven ball recoveries and an impressive nine defensive duel winners – among his side’s highest tallies.
Aside from the defensive work, Obiang’s positional sense was very good and he provided an outlet in possession, completing 25 accurate passes over the course of the 90 minutes.
His presence is ideal for games where Slaven Bilic’s side are set up to be defensively compact and hit their opponents on the counter, therefore visiting fans can expect to see plenty more of him this season.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Hammers can balance their side in East London, and whether or not Obiang could be sacrificed for a more attack-minded central midfielder.
West Ham’s victory at Anfield was their first in over 50 years in the league, a stat which most supporters will now be fully aware of as they deservedly celebrate a major result during a difficult period.