Here’s a rather telling statistic: West Ham have won 0.6 points more points per Premier League match this season when Arthur Masuaku has been fielded at left wing-back.
Over the course of a whole season, that’s worth a staggering 28 points – the kind of difference you’d expect someone like Dimitri Payet or Eden Hazard to have on any given team.
Of course, the Frenchman isn’t quite in the same calibre as those two attacking midfielders, but he does give something invaluable to this Hammers side – natural balance and width, especially with Aaron Cresswell being utilised at centre-half these days.
Indeed, Masuaku is one of the few natural left-footers in West Ham’s squad and one of their best ball carriers, completing more than a fifth of all their dribbles in the Premier League this season, which makes him perfect for a counter-attacking wing-back role that implores the 24-year-old to stretch the opposition on the break and create room for those in more central areas.
That was evident once again on Saturday as Masuaku marked his first appearance since infamously being sent off for spitting against Wigan in the FA Cup with another instrumental performance. He completed the most dribbles of any West Ham player, attempted the most crosses and made the second-most chances after Joao Mario, including the assist for Marko Arnautovic’s second goal.
And the fact West Ham managed just one win in the absence of Masuaku, who Transfermarkt value at just £6.3million, raises an interesting question. While he may not necessarily be the Hammers’ most talented player, has he become their most important in terms of results? Let us know by voting below…