West Ham centre-back Issa Diop has given David Moyes one huge selection headache once again after he delivered another colossal display in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
The Irons sealed top spot in Group H and advanced into the knockout stages of the competition with a 2-0 victory over Rapid Wien, meaning they remain unbeaten in Europe across five matches, and the French defender was instrumental in keeping the clean sheet and helping the side on their way to the win.
With Angelo Ogbonna ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, Diop did his chances of replacing the Italian veteran in the Premier League no harm whatsoever,
He may well have actually bolstered them substantially heading into this weekend’s major clash with defending champions Manchester City.
‘Did everything asked of him, Strong in the air, read the game well,’ is how football.london reporter Tom Clark in his post-match column and indeed, that was certainly the case as he was the more productive of Moyes’ two centre-backs.
As per SofaScore, Diop registered a match-high five clearances, won 100% of his aerial duels, and also made an interception and block apiece.
It follows up from his performance earlier in the campaign against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, where assistant manager Stuart Pearce dubbed him a “colossus” for his impressive performance, whilst in the past, Jose Mourinho once dubbed him a “monster” for the way in which he contained Paul Pogba.
But the towering 24-year-old, who is currently valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, wasn’t just a big physical presence in the heart of defence but he was also adept with the ball at his feet, managing a passing accuracy of 99% from 77 attempts, as well as notching 89 touches of the ball.
After the Hammers’ defeat to Wolves on Saturday, with Craig Dawson getting the nod over Diop, Moyes now has plenty to ponder ahead of Sunday as the Frenchman just delivered a major statement as to why he could be the better option, in the big absence of Ogbonna.
Perhaps it is time to see if the former Toulouse beast can continue such form into the English top-flight. The Scotsman now has a massive call to make seeing as the centre-back continues to deliver each and every time he plays.