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The Importance of Arthur Masuaku

The Number 26 has been a revelation for West Ham this season.

West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

When Arthur Masuaku first joined West Ham from Olympiacos in August 2016, not too much was expected of him. The young left back joined West Ham as a relatively unknown 22-year-old. Most fans just saw him as Aaron Cresswell’s replacement until the 2014/15 Hammer of the Year was fit again. However, the number 26 quickly showed he could be much more than that.

Throughout his time at the club, Masuaku has become more and more influential. The now 24-year-old has especially become a vital part of the team since David Moyes arrived in East London. Since Moyes’ arrival, Masuaku has started all but one of the matches he was available for, and has played in every single one. The Hammers look a completely different side when the electric left wing-back is on the pitch, and there’s a reason why.

Masuaku offers a balance to the team that no other player at the club offers. The 24-year-old is capable of bombing up and down the pitch, successfully making major contributions to both defense and attack. Also, the former French youth international offers a ton of pace and directness, two other things that West Ham lack badly when he is missing.

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

“King Arthur” completes 4.16 take-ons per 90, which is more than Wilfred Zaha and almost double the amount of take-ons Manuel Lanzini completes. Masuaku’s unbelievable success rate of 67% is also comfortably better than both Lanzini’s (62%) and Zaha’s (58%). He has also contributed three assists in the Premier League this season, a number that should only increase as he continues to work on improving his end product.

Not only does Masuaku have the individual numbers to show his quality on the pitch, West Ham are also a completely different side without him. Since Moyes has come in, the Irons have won five, drawn five, and lost four when Masuaku is in the team. However, when the pacy fullback/wing-back is missing, West Ham have won just one, drawn one, and lost four. Without the electric Masuaku, the Hammers have no balance, no width, and no pace.

Not only do West Ham have that awful record when Masuaku is missing, but the Irons conceded three or more goals four times in just six matches in his absence. However, when the number 26 has been in the team since Moyes arrived, the Hammers have only conceded three or more goals three times in 14 league matches. This shows how important the 24-year-old is not just in attack, but defensively as well.

West Ham United v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

One thing is clear: West Ham are a different, and far better side when Arthur Masuaku is playing. The RC Lens and Valenciennes developed talent gives the Hammers a skill set unique to only him currently at the club. “King Arthur” is as important to this team as Marko Arnautovic and Lanzini are, and it’s time for West Ham fans to recognize this.