This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Ham enjoyed a decent summer transfer window, bringing in a number of quality players who will undoubtedly improve them.
Spanish attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals was signed to add creativity in behind the striker, whilst Sebastien Haller was cherry-picked from Eintracht Frankfurt – the Frenchman notched 15 goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga last term.
What the Hammers didn’t do, however, was bolster the left-back position – an area which is an extreme weak spot.
Manuel Pellegrini has Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku to choose from, and both players have their shortcomings – ironically, what each of them does well, the other lacks.
Masuaku is far quicker and contributes more to the attacks for West Ham, whereas Cresswell is probably the better defender out of the two, albeit still not an outstanding one.
We aren’t going to judge Cresswell too seriously on the 5-0 drubbing against Manchester City on Saturday, because that would be fairly harsh considering the Citizens tear almost every team they face to shreds.
We will, however, analyse just how little the former Ipswich man did both in attack and in defence, and explain why Masuaku needs to start against the Seagulls.
You would expect Cresswell to have at least recorded some respectable defensive numbers given how frequently City attacked the Hammers, but the England international barely did anything of note – he made zero interceptions, zero clearances and just one tackle, as per WhoScored, whilst Ryan Fredericks on the other side made three tackles, two clearances and one interception in comparison.
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Cresswell was also dispossessed twice and made 30 passes, less than anyone else on the pitch who played 90 minutes.
The 29-year-old also did literally nothing going forward – he took zero shots, made zero key passes, embarked on no dribbles and hit no accurate crosses.
Against a side who they would expect to get something off in Brighton, Pellegrini must start the more adventurous and involved Masuaku – it’s what some of these West Ham fans are calling for as well.