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He let them down, but Arthur Masuaku’s return is key to West Ham survival

The Congo wing-back returned to the West Ham side after serving a six-game suspension.

Mathew Nash

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West Ham United returned to the London Stadium this weekend for the first time since the embarrassing scenes during the game with Burnley three weeks ago. The Hammers were thrashed by Burnley on that occasion, with fans invading the pitch and venting vitriolic frustration toward the club’s owners.

Yesterday was a completely different story. West Ham put Southampton, managed by Mark Hughes for the first time in the Premier League, to the sword. Joao Mario opened the scoring and then the darling of West Ham this season Marko Arnautovic bagged a brace, which he clearly enjoyed against former Stoke boss Hughes.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Tommy Smith of Huddersfield Town is fouled by Arthur Masuaku of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and West Ham United at John Smith’s Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Huddersfield, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

One man whose return certainly helped the Hammers is Arthur Masuaku. The Congolese made his first appearance for West Ham since the FA Cup exit to Wigan Athletic on 27th January. He was sent off in that game for spitting at Wigan attacker Nick Powell. It was a despicable act which let his team and fans down.

Because Masuaku is a key player for West Ham, which he proved yesterday afternoon.

The marauding left wing-back was in fine form on his return and left West Ham fans ecstatic at his return.

The 24-year-old was relentless in his pressing throughout the game and was a constant outlet on the left-hand touchline. To add the cherry on top of his huge display, Masuaku provided a peach of a cross for Arnautovic’s second and West Ham’s third goal.

West Ham United’s French defender Arthur Masuaku (L) is shown a red card by referee Chris Kavanagh during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Wigan Athletic and West Ham United at the DW Stadium in Wigan, northwest England, on January 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Masuaku certainly let the team down back in January and his enforced absence has been a thorn in David Moyes’ side ever since. His energy and wicked left-foot make him a potent weapon in the 3-4-2-1 formation that Moyes fielded today.

Now he is back and West Ham fans will undoubtedly be on top of the moon to see the talented wing-back flying down the wing once again.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Arsenal

Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Liverpool

Three reasons Jasper Cillessen is the man to solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes

Liverpool look poised to make a move for the Barcelona shot stopper.

Liam Thomas

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Jasper Cillessen
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool will look to sign Barcelona outcast Jasper Cillessen before the transfer window shuts in a bid to solve their goalkeeping woes, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Cilleseen’s talent is undeniable, and despite a massive lack of game time at Barcelona, the Dutch international is still highly rated amongst Europe’s elite goalkeepers.

Reports suggest Cillessen will listen to offers from Europe’s biggest clubs. However, if given the opportunity for some game time with the Spanish giants he would be happy to stay in Catalonia.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s interest in the 29-year-old could prove to be the golden opportunity for Cillessen to get the first team action he has been craving.

But is the Dutchman the man to solve Liverpool’s problem position? Here are three reasons why he is the right man to do so.

1. A cheaper alternative to Alisson

Liverpool have been linked with some of the hottest goalkeeping talents in Europe since the transfer window reopened and one name in particular that has been thrown into the Reds hat is Roma goalkeeper, Alisson Becker.

However, Jurgen Klopp seems reluctant to fork out over £60 million for the Brazilian’s services and Cillessen would be available for a much lower price.

This doesn’t take anything away from the Dutchman’s talent. In fact, Cillissen is more tried and tested on the big stage than Alisson.

2. Winning mentality

Cillessen would bring to Anfield with him a thirst for silverware, a trait that Jurgen Klopp seems to be trying to incorporate into his side.

One La Liga title,  two Spanish cups and three Dutch league titles already sit proudly in the Dutch shot-stoppers trophy cabinet, and it is this winning mentality that Liverpool have been craving to have between their sticks.

3. The chance to be Liverpool’s number one for years to come

If it is first team action that Cillessen wants so badly, he may not have a better opportunity to get that than at Liverpool.

Cillissen would have the chance to rise to the occasion and take over a position that currently has no front runner and the fact that the Reds could just be on the cusp of greatness could make them and the Dutchman a match made in heaven.

The chance to be number one for one of Europe’s biggest clubs can only be motivational for a player of Cillessen’s ability and ambition.

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Watford

Watford should end their interest in Sunderland outcast Jack Rodwell

The former Sunderland midfielder is reportedly training with the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Jack Rodwell
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Rodwell is reportedly on trial with Watford during their pre-season training camp in Austria, according to Sky Sports.

However, Watford should end their interest in the Sunderland outcast as he has not played competitive football since September and the club is already well-stocked in the midfield department.

The ex-Manchester City and Everton central midfielder had an embarrassingly public falling out at the Stadium of Light, as Rodwell was frozen out of the first team for almost all of last season.

The 27-year-old was once one of the most promising prospects in English football, but a 2012 big-money move to City resulted in only 25 first team appearances over two years.

After  a transfer to Sunderland, his fortunes did not improve and Rodwell was on the losing side for much of his matches in the Northeast.

As he barely featured for the Black Cats during their relegation campaign in the Championship last year, it came as a surprise that he is currently on trial with Premier League outfit Watford.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Although he would be available on a relatively low-risk free transfer this summer, there is no need for the Hornets to be targeting Rodwell.

As noted by the Watford Observer, the club’s midfield is already full of talent that many would agree are easily better than Rodwell, especially when considering his lack of first team action.

Watford possess the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Etienne Capoue, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley, and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the centre of midfield— it is unclear where Rodwell would fit in if he was signed.

Jack Rodwell has barely played professional football in over a year, and considering Watford’s wealth of options in his favoured position, the Premier League club has no reason to pursue the signing of the free agent.

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