Manuel Pellegrini pulled another rabbit out of his hat on Saturday, when his West Ham United team made history in becoming the first visiting team to win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The headlines were won by Michail Antonio and his bizarre celebration, yet it was Issa Diop’s heroics which surprisingly kept Spurs at bay.
Indeed, it was almost like the 22-year-old’s crowning moment in a West Ham United shirt. Granted, he didn’t have Harry Kane to face, but if recent results have proven anything, Son Heung-min or Lucas Moura are no lesser a threat. Diop proved to be ready for the challenge and proved why the Hammers shelled good money for him last summer.
The French defender was an absolute impenetrable rock at the back, hounding Spurs’ attackers and always averting disaster for West Ham. He made 8 clearances, 6 interceptions, 2 tackles and 11 ball recoveries (stats via Fotmob) in a stunning defensive display to earn the Hammers bragging rights in the London derby.
If his commanding display proved anything, Manuel Pellegrini should set-up his defence to Diop’s advantage next season. Certain defensive reinforcements, possibly in a right-back and another centre-back, are desperately required. Pellegrini should get players who can gel well with the Frenchman, who’s shown traits of a top-class defender all season long.
If the Hammers want to compete high up in the Premier League next season, they need an uncompromising defence. Diop possesses the ability to be their general to thwart off danger, but requires quality around him to prove himself as a defensive leader.
A bargain at a reported £22m.
West Ham fans, do you think Diop can be the Hammers defensive leader next season? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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