It looked as though things were on the up again for Aaron Cresswell at West Ham. Dropped by Manuel Pellegrini early on in the campaign, he returned in October and made back to back starts for the first time this season before the international break.
He was, however, dropped for the visit of Manchester City and was forced to watch on as Manchester City ran rings around Arthur Masuaku and emphasized his lack of defensive strength.
At the break, the manager recognised the error of his ways and called upon the ex-Liverpool man to stabilise his defence in an attempt to halt the rot as the Citizens led 3-0.
It worked with the number three immediately bringing more defensive discipline to the backline. Lacking Masuaku’s pace, he sat deeper and got forward when possible, rather than going looking for chances.
His deliveries were as excellent as usual but could not produce a consolation goal, but it was primarily in defence where he made a substantial impact.
Having decided to drop Cresswell from his line-up, his display when introduced as a substitute will have made a clear statement to Pellegrini about who he should be calling upon at left-back in the weeks to come.