West Ham United’s recent Europa League clash with Olympiacos on October 26th took an unexpected turn as English newspapers heavily criticized defender Angelo Ogbonna for a costly error that led to a 2-1 defeat, writes the WHZ.
This defeat marked West Ham’s first in the Europa League this season and their second consecutive loss in all competitions. The Greek giants, Olympiacos, proved to be a formidable opponent at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, and Ogbonna’s mistake played a significant role in the loss.
The veteran center-back’s error came in the form of a botched clearance attempt, which ended in an unfortunate own-goal. This mishap allowed Olympiacos to secure a crucial cushion just before half-time, ultimately putting an end to West Ham’s impressive 17-game unbeaten streak in European competitions.
The English media did not hold back in their criticism of Ogbonna’s performance during the match. According to the Evening Standard, the defender’s attempt at clearance was described as “dreadful” and completely unnecessary. Ogbonna received a poor rating of 3/10 from the publication, further emphasizing his role in West Ham’s disappointing performance. The Independent characterized his error as a “Greek tragedy.”
While West Ham manager David Moyes may have defended his experienced defender after the match, the overall sentiment was that Ogbonna’s performance raised concerns about both his experience and quality on the pitch.
Thursday night’s display by the Italian international was far from his best, leaving Moyes to reconsider his decision to start Ogbonna during a crucial phase of the club’s European journey. The match against Olympiacos highlighted that playing second-string players against strong opponents can result in severe consequences, and this loss could mark the end of Ogbonna’s starting role for the Hammers.
Ogbonna, a former Juventus defender, has been a reliable presence whenever Moyes has called upon him in the past. However, it seems evident that he may no longer possess the level of skill and performance required to compete among Europe’s elite. If West Ham aspires to win the competition in May, it appears increasingly likely that Ogbonna will not be part of the starting lineup moving forward. The club may have to look elsewhere for the necessary defensive strength to achieve their ambitions in the Europa League.