Style and substance: These were West Ham's true goals of the season

West Ham United Gate

West Ham United's official award for goal of the season may have already been handed out but these were the two goals which truly defined their campaign.

The Hammers have impressed fans and pundits alike by mounting a serious challenge for the Champions League places this season.

As well as taking a number of notable scalps home and away, including a historic treble over Liverpool, Slaven Bilic has reinvigorated the East Londoners and with stars such as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers are playing the 'West Ham way' once more.

The Irons have officially enjoyed their best ever season in the Premier League era and have a positive goal difference for the first time since 1986.

Bilic also masterminded a fitting and thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Manchester United in the last ever game at Upton Park.

And the club could yet qualify for the Europa League should the Red Devils beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Payet's outstanding free-kick in the 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace was voted the Hammers' official goal of the season and a fine strike it was too.

But there were two better strikes, one in terms of quality, the other in terms of significance.

Substance: Cheikhou Kouyate vs Arsenal opening day

The Hammers had been knocked out of Europa League qualifying to go into Bilic's debut Premier League season as a manager on a bit of a downer.

But any doubts that may have lingered quickly dissapated when star midfielder Kouyate rose highest to head home Payet's free-kick and score the opening goal of the season against one of the title favourites.

West Ham went on to win comfortably 2-0 and that game was so significant as it showed the players Bilic knew what he was doing, played the kind of football they and the fans want to see and was willing to attack away from home unlike his predecessor Sam Allardyce.

Style: Dimitri Payet vs Manchester United FA Cup

It was a tough choice between the goal that officially won the mercurial Frenchman the goal of the season prize and another of his stunning strikes up at Old Trafford in a 1-1 FA Cup quarter-final draw.

When Payet put the ball down fully 35 yards from David de Gea's goal no-one in their right mind believed he would have a chance of beating one of the world's best 'keepers from that distance.

Not only did he bend it exquisitely into the top corner, but he also ran off celebrating as soon as the ball left his foot because he knew it was in.

Everything about it screamed class. The stage, away at Old Trafford in such an important game. The distance, the 'keeper and the celebration. Quite unbelievably in Payet's next game, for France, he scored an almost identical goal from even further out.

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