Former Scotland international Alan Hutton has heaped praise on West Ham United left back Aaron Cresswell for his performance against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The England international played 83 minutes as the Hammers fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the London Stadium but, despite the result, Hutton was very impressed by Cresswell.
“I played against him quite a lot and his delivery is brilliant, I think he brings excellent delivery to the team especially when they play like that, so that’s good,” he told Football Insider.
“He was unlucky yesterday and obviously it’s always going to be a difficult game against [Wilfried] Zaha but he done well. He’s done well and he’ll probably want to play as many games as possible, so he just needs to keep his form up to keep playing.”
This was a game of two separate parts for Cresswell, and so it’s curious to see Hutton praising his delivery, when that was what was off on Saturday. Defensively he did rather well, coping with one of the Premier League’s finest wingers in Zaha without too much difficulty. However, his usage of the ball when in possession was well below par for a man of his enviable technical ability. The statistics back up that assertion, too. As per WhoScored.com, the 29-year-old had 57 touches of the ball, but only made 29 passes on the day. Meanwhile, his pass success rate was a woeful 72.4%. That was the worst tally of any Hammer outside of goalkeeper Roberto. So what did Cresswell’s ‘excellent delivery’ amount to? Four long balls forward with only one of them finding their man. Defensively, though, he was terrific. He made three tackles, two interceptions and four clearances, while keeping Zaha relatively subdued. You get the sense, then, that Hutton may not have actually watched the game on Saturday.