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West Ham: Last-minute change Issa Diop impresses in Leicester draw

West Ham United secured a point at Leicester City in dramatic fashion as defender Craig Dawson scored in the 91st minute to earn his side a 2-2 draw against the Foxes.

The Hammers had gone 1-0 up in the first half through in-form Jarrod Bowen, then Youri Tieleman’s penalty and Ricardo Pereira’s header turned the game around before Dawson secured a point for the visitors by heading in Bowen’s corner in added time.

Prior to the match, defender Kurt Zouma, who has been surrounded by controversy all week after a video showing the Frenchman kicking his cat emerged online, had to withdraw from the match with illness.

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The 27-year-old was set to start at the King Power Stadium, but pulled up in his warm-up, explaining to physios that he felt he could no longer play and was subsequently replaced by Issa Diop.

Ironically, the understudy was excellent in the East Midlands.

According to SofaScore, the replacement completed 47 out of his 51 attempted passes, an accuracy of 92%, as well as completing three of his five long balls. Moreover, the Frenchman was solid defensively, making six clearances, two interceptions and one block whilst winning each of his three duels.

However, arguably the 25-year-old’s most important contribution was the assist for Bowen’s opener, finding his West Ham team-mate with an excellently executed long ball over the top of the Leicester defence, finding the Englishman in space as he gobbled up the chance, just as he has done so often of late.

Although his centre-back partner Dawson scored the equalising goal, Diop was deemed to have had the better performance against Brendan Rodgers’ side by SofaScore, receiving a 7.4/10 rating as opposed to the Englishman’s 7.1.

Given that he wasn’t expected to play, it was a performance of which the centre-back can certainly be proud, having had a tricky campaign thus far and endured plenty of criticism for his recent performance in the FA Cup against Kidderminster.

The £10.8m-rated defender has only made eight Premier League appearances this season, with both Zouma and Dawson currently ahead of him in the pecking order.

Should Diop start West Ham's next game?





It has been in West Ham’s cup competitions that the 25-year-old has found most of his game-time, making a combined ten appearances across the Europa League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup this term.

It could be argued that Diop was unlucky not to be chosen to start the Hammers’ two games this week since the circulation of the video featuring Zouma, with plenty of controversy surrounding David Moyes’ decision to start the 27-year-old.

However, if Diop’s fellow countryman is unable to feature at any point for the remainder of the campaign, performances like Sunday’s will give the manager plenty of confidence that his side won’t suffer as a result.

In other news – Signed for £22m, now worth £59m: Moyes struck gold with West Ham’s very own “Mo Salah”

Article title: West Ham: Last-minute change Issa Diop impresses in Leicester draw

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