The headlines surrounding the poor form of Aaron Cresswell have been inescapable. The first time English international has not had a good year and it’s becoming increasingly obvious he is a decent mid-table left back, but at the moment, nothing more. That might seem harsh, but so have been his efforts on the pitch. The man today is almost unrecognizable to the threat we saw last year. A shadow of the unrelenting press up and down the wing that we came to love. With a final 13 match push to gain a Europa League position, perhaps it’s time we see what the Frenchman, Arthur Masuaku, can do in his stead.
The most glaring remission of Cresswell’s game is perhaps his ability on the ball. His crosses seem a bit weaker and less accurate. His runs seem to be a step or two slower than what we’ve been accustomed to. Offensively, Aaron is just not the same player. One could make the argument there hasn’t been enough of a forward presence to service Cresswell’s efforts, and while valid, his offense hasn’t been the only side of his game lacking.
Defensively, he’s been sloppy. Cresswell has doubled his defensive errors and is on pace to half his successful tackles on the year. The on and off again injury woes are surely not aiding the situation, but that doesn’t really explain the drastic drop in form. Perhaps, the unfamiliar surroundings of the new stadium plays a small part. Maybe it’s knowing there is a younger, pacier, presence waiting in the wings? More than likely, it’s a combination of many factors.
A £6million signing from Greek champions Olympiacos, Arthur Masuaku has been plagued by a nagging knee injury so far in East London. Though, in his eight appearances so far, he has yet to impress. In fairness, rarely does a player fit right in to a new system and a new city. It is not unrealistic to expect Masuaku to need some time to settle in, so the timing of his return could be potent for his Hammer career.
Arthur Masuaku has fully recovered from injury and is now training with the first team and could be in contention for the Watford game. dg pic.twitter.com/E6TaFXHiyb— David Gold (@davidgold) February 15, 2017
West Ham United visit Watford later this month and one of the lingering questions is who will get the start. We don’t think it’s a competition at all. Smart money is on Cresswell as it is still his position to lose, but don’t count Masuaku out. Coming towards the final stretch of the season, Hammers will need to put in fresh legs, especially if left back is a position that continues to prove deficient. The bonus for Cresswell is West Ham United is out of all Cup competitions and will only focus on breaking into Europa qualification. Slaven Bilic is firm on Aaron Cresswell being his starter for the remainder of the season, so long as he remains healthy.
Arthur Masuaku will have to impress off the bench and be patient, or he will quickly become disillusioned in East London, and we will see yet another Frenchman on his way out.