West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini mixed things up substantially against Chelsea on Saturday, and you have to say that, for the most part, he got his selection decisions spot on.
David Martin in for Roberto? Spot on. Michail Antonio replacing Sebastien Haller? Controversial, but it worked. However, one trick he missed was to start left-sided utility man Arthur Masuaku on the left wing.
Instead he went with summer signing Pablo Fornals and, while the Spain international got an assist, he didn’t produce much else. Masuaku, then, must replace the 23-year-old against Wolverhampton Wanderers next time out.
The one criticism of Masuaku throughout his run as a West Ham left back has been that his defending isn’t as strong as his attacking. Why not simply cut out the middle man and play him further forward, especially with Aaron Cresswell coming off a terrific performance in the 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old, on a reported £40,000-per-week at the London Stadium [Source: Spotrac], would also help solidify the left hand side of the pitch against Wolves, something that must be done with Matt Doherty in fantastic form for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Plus, it would allow Felipe Anderson to continue operating as a number 10, something which facilitated a much better performance from him than we’ve seen on the left flank so far this season.
We all know what Masuaku can do going forward when he’s playing as a left back, now imagine what he could do as a left winger. With Cresswell safely in behind him, he could rampage on with impunity.
You should never change a winning team is the old maxim. However, perhaps Pellegrini would be wise to make one slight alteration for Wednesday’s game.