Cresswell should be first choice Left Back – By DazP
We are now 11 games into the season, So Pellegrini should know what his best team is. Injuries have made this harder but a left back we are still swapping between Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku.
Of the 11 Premier games, Cresswell has started just 3 games and Masuaku 8. So you would think that Masuaku is the first choice Left back but as we saw in the midweek cup game with Spurs he is still making mistakes that puts this in doubt.
On Saturday Cresswell was given another chance due to the mistakes against Spurs.
The fact that there is doubt who should start is a reflection that neither of them have taken the position and made it their own in the same way that Diop and Balbuena have done with the centre back positions.
Masuaku and Cresswell are different players and can bring different things to the team but its Cresswell that I believe should be starting and given the chance for a few consecutive starts.
My reasons for this are: –
Cresswell is more of a supportive left back and Masuaku likes to attack to the byline.
At the start of the season I feel that Pellegrini idea was to have attacking full backs on both sides of the pitch which is why Fredericks and Masuaku started at Liverpool.
In my opinion this doesn’t work when you also play wingers, they use the same space and both want to get to the byline. This often crowds the space with the opposing defenders.
For this reason, I would go with Cresswell. He plays the supportive full back role better as can provide excellent crosses from deep which Masuaku always seems reluctant to do and often takes the extra touches.
This doesn’t mean I don’t think Cresswell can put a cross in from the byline, he can but generally you would be looking for the Winger to take the players on and turn back if the run is blocked whilst there is still space. Cresswell can do this far better than Masuaku and could provide quicker crosses for Arnautovic or Hernandez whilst defenders are out of position. Masuaku will often just run into the same space that the ball has come back from.
They have both made mistakes over the last couple of seasons whilst defending but for me Cresswell is the better defender which is why he was also played as the third Centre Back last season.
If we were playing 5 at the back with the extra cover for the attacking fullbacks, then there is more scope to have a more offensive player. But we are playing a back four so don’t always have the defensive cover when playing against the better teams.
An inform Felipe Anderson on the left also takes away the need for a predominantly attacking defender as he will use the space quickly meaning support from behind would be more useful and aid a cross from deep. But also Anderson needs to have good defensive cover behind him to avoid tying him down with defensive duties.
So for me the main question is, do we need an attacking Left Back who can get back or a defender who can get forward.
A defender should defend first.
Masuaku has had his chance at the start of this season but there is still doubt, so Cresswell should now be given his chance in the team for at least 4-6 games to build his confidence and get back to the Left Back that got into the England Squad not that long ago.
By DazP | @Kirtonhammer
Masuaku should be first choice Left Back – By Jack
Although I think Arthur Masuaku should be our first choice left back I feel the need to make it clear that I am not one of those who think Cresswell isn’t premier league quality and we should sell him as soon as we can. I would actually still play him in against the top teams due to the fact we are a stronger team defensively with him in it.
When Cresswell was at his best which unfortunately for both him and us was a little while ago now, he got a call up to the England squad and rumours of a move on to bigger things began to circulate. Even last season I didn’t think he was worse than anyone else, especially seeing as he played a large proportion of it out of position and being targeted by strikers for balls in the air while coming back from injury. Yet despite this he still registered more assists than any other defender in the league. I think he was deserving of all the praise when it was going well and harshly criticised by sections of our fan base since.
But Arthur gives a different dimension to our play, I’m not sure if we have another player who can glide past the opposition with as much ease as him. His main problem is tracking his man which I am sure Pellegrini can coach out of him, just look at the defensive work put in by Anderson against Burnley for example. Both Cresswell and Arthur have been a bit out of form and liable to lapses of concentration or poor decision making. But having the double threat of Anderson (hopefully keeping up the improved work rate and performance) with Arthur behind him makes us a more dangerous side. Many times we see a fullback high up the pitch with out to many positive options open, leading to an attack slowing down and the ball being played backwards for an attack to start all over again. But Arthur has the ability to actually run at the man and beat him and in turn can create a much more dangerous scenario. Not that this is necessary every single time but it is certainly beneficial to have this as an option.
He doesn’t look like a fullback to me really, I would happily see him on the wing if we were to have someone to replace him who is able to do a solid job defensively as well as assist with attacking play to the same extent Arthur can right now. But at this moment in time an attack can lose all momentum if Cresswell is up against an opposition defender, Arthur just has that ability to beat a man in a way Cress doesn’t.
Really if Cresswell were to get back to his best then I think this could change my opinion but for now I certainly favour Arthur. Against any team other than maybe the top 6 or so, we should still be looking to impose our game plan and have faith in our system. At 2-2 against Burnley it would have been easy if we had Carroll on the bench to chuck him on and lump balls to him. Even at times when we haven’t had him in recent seasons we still resort to this tactic. But Pellegrini took a risk with his changes and as a result we played football on the floor as we had all game and it paid of perfectly. Our style under Pellegrini is exactly what I want, it is on the floor, it is attacking football and this means that the main reason being style Arthur has to be the number 1 choice at left back for us right now!
Written By Jack | @myWHUopinion
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— Hammers Chat (@hammers_chat) November 7, 2018