West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini’s decision not to sign a new left back last summer was a curious one, as was his choice to hand new contracts to both Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell.
The position was an issue for the Hammers boss throughout last season, yet he doubled down on his current options over the summer and into the new campaign with the new deal signed by Cresswell recently.
However, after back-to-back shockers from both men – Masuaku at Everton last weekend and Cresswell against Sheffield United on Saturday – the Chilean surely has to act fast to fix what has become a glaring issue for his team.
Simply put, he has to attack the position in the January transfer window. He cannot go on with two talented but inconsistent left backs who can’t seem to put a consistent run of form together, not if he truly wants the Irons to become a big team, as he’s always spouting.
Cresswell was woeful against the Blades. Called back into the starting line up after Masuaku underperformed at Goodison Park, the England international had an opportunity to nail down the position for good. In that, he very much failed.
George Baldock gave him the run-around for much of the 90 minutes at the London Stadium, and he struggled with his defensive positioning throughout the contest.
The statistics demonstrate as much. As per WhoScored.com, the 29-year-old failed to produce a tackle or an interception at any point against the Blades, while he made just one block and one clearance. Plus, he picked up a foul, as well. Furthermore, none of his three attempted crosses found their man.
Masuaku, too, has been in and out of form this term. If West Ham are truly to complete their hoped-for rise up the Premier League table, Pellegrini needs a more reliable left back option. He must find one in January.