Having been dropped only to return as a substitute against Manchester City, Aaron Cresswell made a statement of intent with his display at St. James’ Park, only for it to end in disaster.
The left-back was one of West Ham’s best performers in the first hour in the north-east and excelled, dominating the left flank both defensively and as he looked to get forward.
However, just after 55 minutes he pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was immediately taken off, with no indication yet as to the extent of his injury.
It left Manuel Pellegrini with no choice but to call upon Arthur Masuaku, the inconsistent and unreliable full-back who the Chilean has preferred to deploy in a more advanced role given his defensive deficiencies.
With some time until the January transfer window opens, it leaves the Irons’ boss with few choices on the left hand side of defence and Masuaku clearly does not convince him.
The Hammers will be keeping their fingers crossed that Cresswell’s injury is not as serious as first feared, particularly as he just appeared to be finding form.