The 6’4″ ace [Transfermarkt] partnered Angelo Ogbonna in the heart of defence for Manuel Pellegrini’s side at Villa Park, but while Inkersole was quick to praise the Italian, he was less enthusiastic about the youngster.
Writing in a piece for Football.London, he said: “Ogbonna looked far more composed and assured up against the physical threat of Villa striker Wesley Moraes on Monday night compared to his partner Issa Diop, who was very skittish.”
Diop seems to be struggling a little this season, and it’s a shame to see. When he joined West Ham last season, he looked as if he had the potential to kick on and become one of the brightest young defenders in the Premier League, and while he hasn’t necessarily lost that promise, he has begun to litter his game with moments and performances that have hindered his rapid progress somewhat. His average of 1.6 tackles per match is down from 2.1 last season, while his average of 2.8 clearances is substantially lower than his 4.7 from last term, as per Whoscored. Maybe it is all part and parcel of him learning his trade, and you certainly wouldn’t bet against him playing his way out of this rough patch, but if things continue like this for much longer, Manuel Pellegrini may be inclined to give him a break at some stage to get his act back together.