Arthur Masuaku was one of the stars of the show as West Ham United held Manchester City to a one-all draw on Saturday afternoon, with a dynamic performance from the defender who saw his place in David Moyes’ squad come under threat this summer.
Masuaku began the campaign as Moyes’ second-choice at full-back with Aaron Cresswell starting the season-opening loss to Newcastle United, but was given his chance to impress against Arsenal and has been a lock-in for the role ever since.
The DR Congo international’s performance at home to Pep Guardiola’s Citizens this weekend offered yet more evidence to suggest why he is the right fit for Moyes, who had scoured the transfer market for potential alternatives this summer.
Ryan Manning was one player whom the Irons boss had reportedly courted having scouted the left-back last season, with claims West Ham could lodge a £5million offer for the Republic of Ireland international.
But Moyes ultimately shied away from lodging a formal bid for the “special talent” lauded by former Queens Park Rangers manager Ian Holloway, with later claims suggesting the Hammers chief did not rate Manning who eventually secured a bargain £250,000 move to Swansea City.
Manning is yet to start a Championship fixture for his new side, with Jacks boss Steve Cooper only favouring the 24-year-old on the bench against Coventry and again at Bristol City on Saturday.
Masuaku’s performances will be giving Moyes great confidence that he made the right decision by not signing Manning this summer, and persisting with the 26-year-old be blasted in a massive dressing down in January 2018 after spitting at Nick Powell during an FA Cup defeat to Wigan Athletic.
“I asked him did he spit? And he said yes,” Moyes said at the time, via quotes by Goal. “What he did was despicable. He will get something [a punishment] off us.”
Masuaku left a positive impression on the result as West Ham held Manchester City on Saturday, with the £40,000-per-week defender offering a solid shift with 56 touches registered predominantly on the edge of Lukasz Fabianski’s penalty area, per SofaScore.
The Lille-born ace further offered five tackles and two clearances, while only being dribbled past once. His total number of tackles also eclipsed each of West Ham’s three centre-halves with Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell combining for just two – all of which were recorded by the Italian.
Masuaku additionally won seven of his total eleven ground duels, his sole aerial contest, made two successful dribbles from four attempts, completed 27 of his 39 passes – with five of six long balls going astray – committed just one foul and struck one shot on goal, albeit off target.
Moyes will no doubt be pleased with the form Masuaku has been delivering, and further offer reasons to support his decision not to sign Manning this summer.