Why West Ham United must provide Issa Diop with a start against Arsenal
London rivals Arsenal and West Ham United are in similar situations right now. Both clubs underwent turmoil last season, following which they appointed new managers. And as is the case with most clubs in transition, they signed a good number of players in the recently concluded transfer window.
But as the new season commenced, both clubs have found themselves in a similar situation yet again. Despite playing two games in the Premier League so far, they are yet to put up any points on the board.
Next, they face each other, meaning it will be an entertaining encounter. However, as far as West Ham are concerned, Manuel Pellegrini must provide a start for £22m summer arrival Issa Diop.
The dynamic centre-back is yet to start for the Hammers and after conceding 7 goals in 2 games, it goes without saying that the club must make some changes at the back.
Until now, Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna have started for West Ham in central defence. But against Arsenal, Pellegrini must bench Ogbonna and deploy Diop.
Although the Gunners misfired against teams like Chelsea and Manchester City, West Ham must be wary of the fact that Arsenal have a lethal attack. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexandre Lacazette are yet to make a combined solid impact. But just because they haven’t done it so far, it doesn’t mean they won’t do it.
Considering how weak West Ham’s defence was against Liverpool and then Bournemouth, it goes without saying that Unai Emery’s men are capable of taking advantage.
Furthermore, all three of Arsenal’s attackers are quite fast and they can outrun defenders with ease. Their pace and Emery’s pressing tactics could leave Ogbonna panting behind.
As seen in earlier displays, he lacks the pace required to catch up with attackers and put in a tough tackle to prevent them from going forward. In contrast, Diop is known for his blinding pace and physical aggression on the field – which is exactly what the Hammers have been lacking.
Given Diop’s speed, power and ability to intercept and tackle, it should be a no-brainer for Pellegrini to deploy him ahead of Ogbonna. As things stand, West Ham are in desperate need of points and the only way they can succeed is by shoring up their defence.