WEST HAM’S LEFT BACK CONUNDRUM
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 27 January 2019 at 7:00pm
Written by : @FredDWHU
So far this season, Cresswell and Masuaku have shared the duty of being West Ham’s first team Left Back. Masuaku looked like he was Pellegrini’s first choice at the start of the season, but as we come into the second half of the season, Cresswell has held down the position with some recent good performances. Both players have their positives but they equally have just as many negatives, so it begs the question: should we buy a new Left Back or are Cresswell or Masuaku good enough?
When it comes to Masuaku, the Congolese Left Back has made the most appearances out of the two with thirteen starts and two substitute appearances. Last season he flourished under the Left Wing Back role which allowed him to get forward and show his skill on the ball. However, this season Pellegrini has decided to play four at the back which means Masuaku has a lot more defensive duties – which isn’t his forte. We’ve seen this in various matches where he struggles to defend the opposition’s Right Winger, and this is a real problem when coming up against some of the best teams in the league (most of whom have world class wingers.) Masuaku has said himself that his preferred position is at Left Wing but so far this season he hasn’t been given the chance due to Felipe Anderson’s scintillating form.
Masuaku isn’t good enough to be starting at Left Back, especially if we want to challenge for the top six, but’s not worth selling him due to his ability to fill in at Left Wing and Left Back if needed – as he’s a decent back up.
Cresswell has been at the club for nearly five years now and has always been in and around that starting Left Back slot. Signed by Allardyce in 2014, he has been a regular starter and a loyal servant to the club. During the 2015/16 season, he was playing some of his best football and even got called up to the England squad. However, after that season, he picked up an injury which kept him out of the squad for 4 months and he hasn’t been his best since.
He’s been rife with mistakes and has been a liability at the back. He only seems to look at his best when Andy Carroll’s playing up top and that’s because he can swing crosses into him. Now nearing 30 years old, we need to see if he continues this short spell of form he’s developed over the last few weeks before deciding whether to keep him at Left Back or to get someone else in.
When it comes to potential signings, there’s a few that we should be looking at and the first one is Emerson from Chelsea. The player has struggled to break into the Chelsea side with Marcos Alonso being Sarri’s preferred choice and he is reportedly looking at leaving for game time. In the games he’s played for Chelsea, he’s looked tidy and many Chelsea fans believe he should be starting ahead of Alonso which shows his pedigree. The Brazilian chemistry he would have with Felipe would be a joy to watch. Another player we should be after is Ferland Mendy from Lyon in the French league. He has impressed in the last two seasons and has helped his side climb to third in the table. With him only being 23 years old, he could be a player that stays in our side for a long time.