Pundit’s Choice: Cheikhou Kouyate

Pundit’s Choice: Cheikhou Kouyate

West Ham supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in recent times after seeing their team suffer a fourth successive Premier League defeat at the weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men went into the 2018/19 campaign full of confidence after an encouraging summer of transfer business, but their start has been nothing short of disastrous in failing to pick up a single point from their first four games. The Hammers went down 4-0 at Liverpool on the opening weekend before losing 2-1 at home to Bournemouth a week later, and while they played reasonably well against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium back on August 25, they lost there as well. And the East London club suffered a fourth consecutive defeat on Saturday in going down 1-0 at home to Wolves, thus leaving them bottom at this early stage.

Nonetheless, there have been many frustrated West Ham fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from pundit Paul Merson on Sky Sports’ The Debate programme, in which the ex-midfielder bemoaned the club’s decision to sell Cheikhou Kouyate during the summer.

Yet the former Arsenal man has got it absolutely wrong regarding the now-Crystal Palace midfielder, as while the Hammers do appear to have struggled in that area of the pitch this term, Kouyate was hardly the solution during his time at the London Stadium.

Ultimately, the 28-year-old spent four years at West Ham between 2014 and 2018 and in that time played 147 games for the East London outfit, netting 15 goals and laying on ten assists in the process.

And while there were glimpses of brilliance from the Senegal international, it’s fair to say that he otherwise flattered to deceive in the heart of the Hammers midfield, with it arguable that the only reason he earned 33 Premier League appearances last term was given the distinct lack of other options.

The 28-year-old seriously struggled for form for much of the 2017/18 campaign as David Moyes’ men somewhat unconvincingly staved off relegation, so while Merson is bemoaning the lack of presence in that midfield area now, it’s hardly as if Kouyate was the answer in the first place.

Arguably, the Senegalese star was better at centre back as part of a back three than he was patrolling the middle of the park for the Hammers – there’s a reason the East London club were happy to let him go for £9.5 million during the summer.

Yes, his departure does appear to have left them short in that area, but Kouyate proved during his time at the London Stadium that he wasn’t the answer to that conundrum anyway, which is why Merson has got it absolutely wrong regarding the now-Palace midfielder.

West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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