West Ham United’s defence has not enjoyed the previous couple of months.
Since the start of pre-season, they have looked fragile and are leaking goals, a worrying trend which has carried over into the beginning of the Premier League season.
Manuel Pellegrini will be concerned at his side’s lack of solidarity after a good season at the back in the previous campaign, where they conceded 13 fewer goals than the season before that.
The Chilean is yet to find a concrete back four that he wants to stick with, after making two changes in the defence for the game against Brighton following the opening day humiliation against Manchester City.
Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent has slammed DR Congo international Arthur Masuaku in particular for his performances, claiming to Football Insider that the left-back is stopping Aaron Cresswell from consistently starting for the Hammers.
“I like Cresswell, he’s quite reliable, he knows what he’s doing, every week he’ll give you a seven out of 10,” the Sky Sports pundit said.
“I think Masuaku is a bit of a liability, gets caught out of position way too much for my liking, not really great on the ball. For me, I like Cresswell, I’ve always liked him.”
However, looking at the stats, Bent is barking up the wrong tree with his verdict on Cresswell, who was defensively inferior to Masuaku last season according to WhoScored.
Masuaku started one more game than Cresswell in the previous campaign and proved his worth as he achieved a higher average match rating.
The 25-year-old was labelled a “liability” by Bent, but actually averaged significantly more tackles and interceptions – looking more solid when defending.
Masuaku also won more offsides for his side and averaged more clearances per game – with Cresswell only bettering the African in terms of blocks.
Bent is clearly barking up the wrong tree with his verdict on the two West Ham left-backs, with Masuaku more than deserving of his spot under Pellegrini.