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West Ham can solve their centre-back crisis with Aji Alese

West Ham United make the short trip to west London this afternoon as they take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.

The Hammers will be looking to capitalise on Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal yesterday, with a victory enough to see the east London outfit return to the top six.

Qualification for European competition via the league is still very possible for David Moyes’ men, however, with just five games to go, it’s imperative that the Irons avoid any more slip-ups in order to give themselves the best chances of finishing in the top six.

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Although, the Scotsman is facing a defensive crisis ahead of his side’s meeting with the Blues, with Issa Diop now injured alongside Kurt Zouma and long-term absentee Angelo Obgonna, making Craig Dawson the Hammers’ only fit senior centre-back.

Therefore, now would be the perfect opportunity to unleash 21-year-old defender Aji Alese, who has impressed for the U23s.

Opportunity Knocks

The English youngster hasn’t been offered many first-team opportunities by Moyes, making his debut in last season’s 5-1 EFL Cup victory over Hull City, a performance that saw coach Alan Irvine label him as “brilliant,” before playing in a much-changed Hammers team for their final Europa League group game against Dinamo Zagreb in December.

Moreover, Tom Edwards declared that the defender “looked like a seriously good player” in an episode of the We Are West Ham Podcast.

Although the centre-back has made just two senior appearances for West Ham, he is very much in the first-team picture, making the bench on 19 occasions this term.

The 21-year-old does have experience of playing first-team football though, having had loan spells at both Accrington Stanley and Cambridge United.

For Stanley, Alese made 15 appearances whilst the half-season in Cambridge didn’t amount to much, with the defender featuring just twice for the U’s.

Will West Ham beat Chelsea today?

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Yes

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However, this season has seen the Englishman become a colossus for West Ham’s U23s, making 22 appearances in Premier League 2 as well as three in the EFL Trophy.

In Premier League 2, the youngster has captained his side on five occasions, with the young Hammers second in the first division.

Making the step up to face the reigning European Champions in Chelsea would be a tall ask for the young defender, however, amid Moyes’ injury crisis at the back, now would be the perfect time to unleash Alese.

AND in other news: £69k-p/w flop now axed, 21 y/o “gold dust” makes PL debut: West Ham predicted XI today

Article title: West Ham can solve their centre-back crisis with Aji Alese

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