Once a crucial figure in West Ham United’s system, Arthur Masuaku now finds himself almost exiled from Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Indeed, the left wing-back has seemingly been unable to win over the Argentine manager, causing him to go down the pecking order after some decent enough performances under David Moyes last year.
Masuaku’s only made 18 appearances for the Hammers this season, four of which have come from the bench. Despite starting the season as a regular, one poor performance after another compelled Pellegrini to bench him. He last appeared in West Ham’s win over Newcastle in early March and is now second-fiddle to Aaron Cresswell.
The difference between Cresswell and Masuaku is that of defensive ability. While the English left-back’s experience has helped him neutralize an attacking threat, Masuaku’s been unable to do so and is often caught up the pitch when possession turns over. The Hammers have only kept two clean sheets in the games he’s played and Masuaku’s erroneous nature’s caused frustration for them multiple times this season.
However, it’s on the attacking front where he’s earned his reputation. His burst of pace, ability to go past defenders and crossing ability has worked in West Ham’s favour, especially when he came to the fore last season. However, now with Felipe Anderson’s magic down the left, there’s little need for Masuaku having to do it all by himself.
After being unable to prove his defensive solidity to Pellegrini, Masuaku finds himself in a crossroads. Perhaps he will be shipped off this summer and witnessing his defensive frailties, not many will pounce on him. However, knowing his ability as an auxiliary winger, Masuaku could soar for other Premier League sides.
While it’s not exactly the end of the road for Masuaku, he needs to work hard in upcoming months to raise his stock. If he keeps on being erratic in defence and ineffective going forward, nobody will be willing to sign him and he’ll be forced to take a step back in what looked a promising career.
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