West Ham United’s top-six hopes were dealt a major blow on Sunday afternoon as David Moyes’ side lost 3-1 away at fierce rivals and fellow European-qualification contenders Tottenham Hotspur.
The hosts romped into a 2-0 lead before the half-hour mark thanks to an own goal from Hammers defender Kurt Zouma and a Heung-Min Son strike before Said Benrahma halved West Ham’s deficit before the interval.
However, the South Korean netted his second of the match late on to secure all three points for Tottenham which sees the Lilywhites climb up to fifth whilst the Irons drop to seventh.
It was certainly an afternoon to forget in north London for the East London club with regular star performers off colour. However, Moyes did hand a start to left-back Arthur Masuaku, who struggled to take his opportunity.
According to SofaScore, the DR Congo international made just 37 touches whilst losing possession on nine occasions in a performance rated 6.1, the joint-second-lowest of his side alongside Lukasz Fabianski, with Zouma’s 5.8 below.
Moreover, the 28-year-old, who was deployed at left-wing-back, won just one of an attempted six duels at a loss rate of 83% whilst failing to make a single tackle, block or interception.
There was little going forward from Masuaku, who was making his first league appearance in over two months, either with three failed dribble attempts, zero shots and just one completed cross.
The only positive from the 28-year-old’s performance was his passing, ending the match with a 91% success rate. Although, that conclusion came early as Moyes hooked the wing-back after just 56 minutes.
Masuaku’s campaign has certainly been mixed, with the DR Congo international playing in ten consecutive league matches between November and December, however, over the course of the whole season the defender has made 19 appearances in all competitions, having been resorted to a further three in Premier League 2 for the U23s given a lack of game time.
This will make Sunday’s below-par display particularly frustrating for both Masuaku and his manager with it a golden opportunity to edge his way into the side as the Hammers near the conclusion of their campaign.
Since making the move to the London Stadium from Olympiacos in 2016, the 28-year-old has gone on to make 127 appearances for the East London club. Although, the defender has never really established himself as a regular first choice.
With two years left on his current contract after this season, both Masuaku and the club will need to make a decision on his future. At 28, the defender will want to be playing regularly which will be less likely as West Ham continue to progress as a football club.
The Hammers have tasted what big European nights feel like, particularly on Thursday when they overcame an aggregate deficit to beat Sevilla and advance to the quarter-finals of the Europa League and will want the same next campaign.
Therefore, Moyes is going to struggle to promise the game time the full-back will want, meaning that Masuaku may have to reconsider his future this summer.