Issa Diop put in an impressive performance during West Ham United’s 2-0 FA Cup victory over Gillingham.
The Frenchman has not had things all his own way, especially since being suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the Premier League season against Tottenham Hotspur.
Following his suspension’s culmination, he has had just one start from a possible six league games – sitting on the bench for three of those and not even making the squad for one.
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There was a slight indication that things may not change for him after David Moyes’ arrival, as his three games stuck on the bench includes the Scotsman’s second managerial debut with the Hammers, in the 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth.
However, he was given the opportunity to influence Moyes’ thinking, getting to start against Gillingham, a chance that he took with an impressive performance.
He played the entirety of a game that could have easily ended differently for the Hammers, as they were unable to break the deadlock until the 74th minute.
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West Ham’s back three of Diop, Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna stood strong, recording a combined 17 aerial duels won, 11 tackles, 14 clearances and four interceptions.
The Frenchman played an important part in that record and the eventual clean sheet, as shown by the statistics below.
The fact that he was unbeaten across seven aerial duels and three tackle attempts, gives a good indication into how dominant he was in his defensive display throughout the tie.
He also produced one key pass, though if there is something to be picked at, it could be suggested that the 22-year-old needs to improve his pass accuracy, as his success rate was a slightly underwhelming 77%.
Despite that, the Frenchman will surely have got himself into Moyes’ thinking, whether he reverts back to a centre-back pairing or continues to play with a three-man defence.