The General And The Monster-Balbuena And Diop-What A Pair!

Despite the obvious disappointment of losing 1-0 to much disliked London Rivals Tottenham at the London Stadium, many Hammers fans are relishing the 'bigger picture' and confirmation that at last the club has a centre back pairing every bit as good as the Ginger Pele and Winston Reid when in their pomp. The General, Fabian Balbuena, and the Monster, Issa Diop, played a blinder of a game and did not deserve to be on the losing side, both players initially had difficulty in adjusting to the Premier League, but now their partnership is blossoming far better than many thought or dreamt possible.

The combined presence of Balbuena, the General as he was known when playing for Corinthians, and Diop, dubbed the Monster by Jose Mourinho after Manchester United's 3-1 defeat by West Ham earlier in the season when Diop totally 'snuffed out' Romelu Lukaku, means that opposition forwards are faced with a mobile and incredibly strong and yet agile centre back pairing. In conjunction with Fabianski's very decent performances and shielded by Declan Rice, the Paraguayan and Frenchman have already begun to look almost telepathic in their communication with their well timed tackles and forceful shielding of the ball, covering for each other when required to do so with aplomb.

Diop arrived with a realistic but high end price tag of £22 Million and rising, Balbuena for a fraction of that at £3.5 Million! Perhaps Diop's high transfer fee, which now looks a relative bargain, affected him initially and it took by his own admission a bit of a 'roughing up' by an AFC Wimbledon player during a Carabao Cup match that 'opened his eyes' as to the nature of football within these shores is all about, irrespective of League or League position. Diop has learned very quickly and his assured performances of late have ensured that he is an essential in the starting line up, likewise Balbuena started slowly as he adjusted to European football, but he has quickly shown the ability to adapt and up his game to the speed and physical nature of the Premier League.

Hammers have had bad enough luck with injuries of late, with the long term injury of Yarmolenko added to the ever growing list of players including Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and take your pick from Xande Silva, Nathan Holland and the next inevitable addition. So it seems only fair that the spine of the back line have prospered against the odds when they seemed destined to fail, in fact the calls for The Ginger Pele to return to help stabilise the ship were loud and apparent!

Nil desperandum was the message from under fire manager Manuel Pellegrini, and despite losing by 1-0 in the games against Brighton and Tottenham there is a definite feeling of optimism about the team which deserved much better in both matches. Rome wasn't built in a day, and West Ham United certainly won't but the atmosphere at the London Stadium on Saturday proved that if the team perform the way they did that the fans will get behind them and become the 'twelfth man' that has been missing on more than one occasion before. - Ed



Dartford Bhoy's picture

I am still eating humble pie regarding Diop, in the friendly against Wycombe he was shocking but now... wow, what a player!

Losing the last two games has been disappointing but I am still satisfied with the quality of football and results will come. Its Old Skool Hammers... been brought up on a diet of good football and bad fortune :o)

30 users have voted.

Is being put in thats all we expect,hopefully the tide will turn now

35 users have voted.
Burkie 1's picture

Have we got a sign on the gate saying "any long term injured players wellcome here " Carroll ,Wheelchair and now apparently Yarmo ,the dogs in the street seem to have known about his iffy ankle ,yes are two centre backs are developing into a class act but we've got to put some points on the board ,and soon ,I think Leicster are there for the taking ,watched the Arse take them apart last week ,by the way where did Albert Steptoe go with 4 minutes to go disappeared down the tunnel and wasn't seen again ,the commentator seemed to think he had a dose of the two Bob bits ,Wich has got to be embarrassing considering you've used up all your subs , on B T sports by the way 17.30

34 users have voted.

Burkie 1

Loving these two in the middle of defence. Please no injuries for the rest of the season lads....liking the idea of Moses coming back as cover for Cresswell, yes Cresswell and not the spitter...

34 users have voted.

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