David Moyes is sweating on the fitness of star left-back Aaron Cresswell ahead of West Ham United’s clash with Burnley in the Premier League this afternoon…
The 31-year-old has been absent since picking up a back problem during the defeat to Manchester City several weeks ago and has recently resumed ‘light’ training but according to the manager, it’ll be “touch and go” if he features today.
“Cress is doing much better, it will be touch and go if he makes it or not,” said the Scot (via the Evening Standard).
“We’ve seen him out and about a little bit and he’s doing a bit more, feeling a bit more mobile than he has been. It would be important if we could get him back, it would help us a lot. We’ll give him every opportunity to try and make it.”
Cresswell’s continued absence would be a major blow to the Irons, especially as the injuries are mounting up in defence.
Kurt Zouma was withdrawn in last weekend’s victory over Chelsea and is expected to join fellow centre-back Angelo Ogbonna on the long-term injury list, whilst young full-back Ben Johnson also picked up a problem in the game, and he could miss several games over the festive period.
If the Englishman is also out, then it leaves Moyes very short on options right across the backline. Vladimir Coufal, you’d imagine, would be set to claim his place back at right-back but on the left, it’s a little tricky.
It’s becoming increasingly evident that the Hammers boss does not trust Arthur Masuaku that much defensively but in a back five, where he can bomb up and down the wing, he’s more likely to start.
That is something Moyes also alluded to during his pre-game press conference.
“We certainly lose something in midfield but maybe we might have more midfield players than we do defenders at the moment so Declan is certainly a consideration for that and he can play there as well,” he claimed (via the Evening Standard). “He would give us a lot of pluses if we play at the back, we’d build better.”
Rice would only drop back into defence if Moyes opted for a back-three, which would then allow the inclusion of Masuaku, but ideally, you’d think that many around the team would want their trusty and reliable left-back involved.
Last season, Cresswell led the squad for creativity, managing a whopping eight assists and 1.6 key passes made per game, via WhoScored. That shows his influence to the side, particularly in the final third, where he is a much better option than the Congolese defender.
Therefore, it would be a bitter and crushing blow to not have the 31-year-old back involved after returning to training this week.
AND in other news, Moyes must start West Ham’s “creative spark” over Said Benrahma this afternoon…