West Ham United maintained their Champions League push over the weekend, defeating European champions Chelsea 3-2 in an enthralling encounter at the London Stadium.
However, the three points may have come at a considerable price for David Moyes’ side, with Kurt Zouma and Ben Johnson joining the ever-growing injury list ahead of a crucial run of fixtures.
And while the experience Vladimir Coufal can comfortably deputise at right-back in Johnson’s absence, Zouma’s potential spell on the sidelines could cause a whole host of issues.
That’s because first-choice centre-back Angelo Ogbonna has already been ruled out of action for the remainder of the season after picking up an ACL problem against Liverpool.
As a result, it’s likely that Issa Diop will be awarded a run of games over the coming weeks, providing him with the perfect opportunity to revive his career and finally fulfil his top-class potential.
The 24-year-old arrived on English shores with an enviable reputation back in July 2018 and impressed throughout his maiden campaign, making 33 starts in the Premier League.
Diop’s eye-catching displays saw former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho label him a “monster” just months into his West Ham career, yet he has struggled to replicate that sort of form ever since.
But Diop has shown signs of encouragement and improvement in recent months. Following an outstanding performance against Leicester City in the final weeks of last term, pundit Trevor Sinclair praised the Frenchman’s showing.
He tweeted: “Delighted to watch Issa turned a corner today @IssaDiop97. Well done young man,” highlighting his much-improved display.
And the youngster also put in an encouraging 90 minutes on his first Premier League outing of 2021/22 on Saturday, making two blocks, one clearance and one tackle, while winning two duels and securing a passing accuracy of 94%.
Therefore, the next few weeks could prove pivotal in Diop’s West Ham career, with Ogbonna and Zouma’s absence handing him the ideal opportunity to get back on track.