West Ham United have endured a mixed opening to the campaign both collectively and individually, and their 1-0 defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the international break served as a fitting example of how hit and miss they can be.
Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival has certainly given the Hammers a fresh sense of optimism for the future but the squad at his disposal is still short of the quality required for the club to achieve their goals in the future.
Summer arrivals have provided Pellegrini with plenty of high calibre players to work with, the next step is finding a system which suits them.
One area which Pellegrini decided against investing in was at left-back where he has both Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku to chose from.
The latter has been a mainstay on the left side of West Ham’s defence under Pellegrini and Cresswell has been forced to watch on from the sideline for the most part, but defeat at Brighton taught the Hammers’ boss a valuable lesson: Masuaku is lacking the defensive instinct to warrant his place in back-four.
Brighton’s only goal of the game arrived directly from a Masuaku mistake: when Issa Diop signalled for the full-back to tuck inside to mark Glenn Murray, he simply stood still and allowed the clinical striker the freedom of West Ham’s penalty area to fire home.
It was a moment which served to illuminate his lack of concentration in crucial defensive moments, and that’s something Pellegrini could address by signing Alberto Moreno next summer.
According to a report from Goal, Moreno is set to depart Anfield after falling down the pecking order in light of Andrew Robertson’s impeccable form.
The Spaniard is certainly not without some defensive frailties of his own, but he certainly represents a huge upgrade on Masuaku and he has the relevant Premier League experience to thrive at West Ham.
And considering he will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires, Pellegrini would be foolish not to at least entertain the possibility of submitting a contract offer.
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