Zouma & The Monster

Hammers front line and of course Declan '£200 Million' Rice, have rightly received the plaudits from previous critics for their superb performance against Dinamo Zagreb in last night's Europa Cup victory, but it was the exploits of the defence, snuffing out what is normally a formidable Dinamo attack, that played a strong second fiddle.

Without wanting to unduly criticise Craig Dawson, who was one of the players that were instrumental in helping Hammers to their sixth place finish in the Barclays Premier League and subsequent qualification for the group stages proper of the Europa League Cup, new £30 Million signing Kurt Zouma is a definite upgrade.

Zouma's pace and power, combined with a cool experienced match day head puts him on a different level to Dawson, he marshalled the back line with aplomb in what was a very competitive game, all of which augers rather well for his French compatriot Issa Diop. Although the 'Og' (Angelo Ogbonna) is still the main man, he is getting on a bit and will eventually need replacing. Now that David Moyes has Zouma to rely on as well as Ogbonna, he can start to 'rebuild' Issa diop for the future, Diop was superb for the club when he first arrived from Toulouse, leading to Jose Mourinho famously referring to Diop as a 'monster' in defence, adding well done to whoever found him, however the young Frenchman lost his way eventually and found himself out of favour with David Moyes.

A bout of Covid occurred just as he had fought his way back into the first team and subsequently was unable to regain his place alongside Angelo Ogbonna, being kept out by the inform Craig Dawson. Last night proved that Diop CAN regain his mojo, playing alongside Zouma he already began to look like the super athlete that he used to be and was able to bring the ball out of defence quite well, he did make a couple of errors, but considering the quality of the opposition he did really well.

Having Diop firing on all cylinders will be pleasing for David Moyes, the manager may still leave Diop on the bench for certain games, but don't be surprised if Diop features in the starting line up with increasing regularity. An in form Diop also gives Moyes the option of playing three at the back with Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal operating as wing backs but becoming part of a five at the back when needed.

Diop was an expensive acquisition when he arrived at the club, but his value soared much higher and then plummeted, fortunately he is young and just like Pablo Fornals is capable of learning from those around him, those two players as well as Lukasz Fabianski are the only two 1st team players that have been retained by David Moyes from the Pellegrini era, they are still here for a reason!

Bit by bit David Moyes, his staff and his players are building a team with a capital T, even the majority share holder has gone quiet, although that may have something to do with events off the pitch, nevertheless the doom sayers have taken a break, at least until Sundays Sky Ronaldo fest!

It's a happy time to be a Hammer, enjoy it and soak up the experience, some of us have waited an awful long time for it!- Ed

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to that Nev got a big smile on me kisser and almost walking on air 'up the hammers'

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