Cresswell, Johnson Or Zaba, Who Replaces Masuaku?*

Apart from blowing the chance to go third in the Barclays Premier League, Monday night's draw against newly promoted Aston Villa was earned at the cost of a red card for left back Authur Masuaku. Images of Masuaku's second yellow card saw the Villa player crash to the floor as if he had been shot by a sniper despite barely being glanced by the Hammers defender.
West Ham fans who had hoped that VAR would bring an end to the terrible refereeing the club have been on the receiving end of had better get used to their dreams fading and dying, although Hammers are currently 11-2 to finish in the top six of the table as you can see from this betting guide !
There is no point in dwelling Masuaku's dismissal, Kevin Friend of no one's millionth red card cannot be rescinded, despite it being issued in error, so what options does Manuel Pellegrini have?

The manager is obviously a great believer in 'Authur' otherwise he wouldn't have handed him a new five year deal, so his loss for the upcoming home game against Manchester United will be particularly annoying, as the defence had really tightened up in the last four games. Aaron Cresswell is the obvious go to player for the left back position, it wasn't that long ago that he was considered for England, but injury and loss of form have taken their toll, he looks a shadow of the player he once was before his series of injuries.

Ben Johnson has been at West Ham since he was seven years old, and on the 27th of February 2019 he made his Premier League debut for West Ham, starting at left-back away at champions Manchester City in a 1–0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, a game in which he played admirably. Starting the 19 year old would certainly be a big risk for Manuel Pellegrini, putting so much faith and pressure on a young player is a gamble, but probably a necessary one given the circumstances, after all, why was Johnson not sent out on loan?

Johnson was retained to be in the first team squad should he be needed, with Masuaku suspended and Cresswell showing a complete lack of confidence, not helped by the 5-0 battering at home by Manchester City, a game in which he got 'skinned' relentlessly, the only other option is Pablo Zabaleta. Zaba came on against Villa following Masuaku's dismissal and helped see out the game, but starting the veteran against Manchester United in his 'wrong' position would be a recipe for disaster.

Pellegrini might have concerns about ruining Johnson's development by throwing him in at the deep end, but he made his debut against Manchester City, how much more of a challenge is there than that? The old saying that if you are good enough, you are old enough springs to mind, the Hammers manager does like to 'give youth a go', so don't be surprised to see Jonson start against United, with Cresswell on the bench. - Ed

*We are glad other Hammers sites like to share our articles, but show some respect and credit the article's origins before cutting and pasting them and then altering them slightly!

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Comments

cast iron's picture

Think I'll sit on the fence here and start with Ben Johnson and if it doesn't work out then play Zabaleta, think that Aaron showed what he was made of in the Citeh game and although he has been a good servant to West Ham, the writing is on the wall for the January window we need a good left-back whether it is Johnson, time will tell this is the last season for Zabs so we need back up, obviously Pellegrini thinks that Arthur Masawaku is the man, I'm not so sure.

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Give youth a chance, zabs really only backup,

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hammergirl's picture

He had a poor game against citeh no doubt about that but he is not that bad that he should not be considered for this match against man utd,i am more concerned to hear that Lanzini has apparently picked up an injury:-( maybe from the villa game as he was not that great monday night and although El Pel said all players came through uninjured unless he suffered the dreaded knock in training i am not so sure.

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