West Ham United left back Arthur Masuaku was left out of the match day squad against Crystal Palace on Saturday for tactical reasons, according to Claret & Hugh.
The reliable Hammers news source claims that the DR Congo international was fit to be involved against the Eagles, but manager Manuel Pellegrini simply opted not to include him.
That’s because the Chilean wanted more midfield options on the substitute’s bench, with Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass and Pablo Fornals all picked ahead of him.
The 25-year-old has made five starts for the Irons in all competitions this season [Source: Transfermarkt], but lost his starting spot to Aaron Cresswell recently.
This is an interesting little tid-bit, isn’t it? Clearly Pellegrini was concerned about his side’s ability to break the Eagles down on Saturday, and so wanted extra attacking options on the bench to throw at Palace late on. That surely must be the case, otherwise he likely would have had Masuaku on the bench ahead of Snodgrass, perhaps. It’s curious, then, that Pellegrini still didn’t turn to summer signing Albian Ajeti as the game wore on. The Switzerland international is a striker, after all, yet the Chilean has rarely looked to him to change games. Masuaku obviously isn’t a massively attacking option when he’s being brought on as a left back, not in comparison to a Fornals or an Ajeti anyway, but his omission on Saturday tells you everything about how far he has fallen within a month of being the undisputed starting left back at the London Stadium.