WHO Poll
Q: 2023/24 Hopes & aspirations for this season
a. As Champions of Europe there's no reason we shouldn't be pushing for a top 7 spot & a run in the Cups
b. Last season was a trophy winning one and there's only one way to go after that, I expect a dull mid table bore fest of a season
c. Buy some f***ing players or we're in a battle to stay up & that's as good as it gets
d. Moyes out
e. New season you say, woohoo time to get the new kit and wear it it to the pub for all the big games, the wags down there call me Mr West Ham

Irish Hammer 11:52 Thu Dec 9
Article on Issa Diop
Nice little Article on The Monster

It’s a case of now or never for Issa Diop.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: West Ham United's Issa Diop during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on October 27, 2021 in London, England.

“Issa Diop is under contract here and I was never letting him go no matter what. Whether we were using him or not, there is potential there. He has been here for a couple of years and he has to show his potential.”

It is Friday, February 26, 2021, the eve of an away trip to Manchester City — and David Moyes is keen to set the record straight on Issa Diop’s future. The centre-back has featured sporadically in the league, only playing a combined total of 477 minutes.

But following Angelo Ogbonna’s injury in the FA Cup loss to Manchester United, Diop had been restored in the starting XI — and Moyes wants to stress why the defender remains an important member of the team.

“We like Issa a lot — we always have done,” he said. “He has just started to settle back in the team, we’ve got to give him the chance to do so.”
Injury presented Diop’s window of opportunity, which culminated in the centre-half playing 12 consecutive league games for West Ham United between February and May. Ten months on and Diop finds himself in a similar predicament.
With Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma sidelined with knee and hamstring tendon injuries respectively, Diop once again has the opportunity to showcase why he is capable of fulfilling his potential. In many ways, it is a case of now or never for the 24-year-old, who joined the club in the summer of 2018 from French side Toulouse.

There was a period when the Frenchman polarised opinion among the fanbase. Many were puzzled by his inability to reach the next step in his development, having been labelled a “monster” by then Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho in 2018 — while others felt Diop was deserving of a place in the team.
But this season the 24-year-old has done well to dismiss the notion he is not capable of thriving under Moyes. Diop has impressed in cup victories against Manchester United, Manchester City and Europa League fixtures against Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna and Genk. The 3-2 win over Chelsea was Diop’s first league appearance of the season and he did not look out of place.
“Issa is a really big part of the squad — he always has been and I’ve never considered him as anything else than a West Ham player and a first-team player,” said Moyes. “So I see him having a big chance to show exactly what he can do.”
Diop’s contract expires in the summer of 2023, although West Ham have the option to extend by a further year. But in the short term, his priority should be to give Moyes a difficult defensive conundrum with the January transfer window looming.

The challenge for Diop is to show consistency and repay Moyes’ faith. His dithering on the ball seems to be a thing of the past, but he will be expected to produce performances similar to what we have seen from Zouma and Ogbonna this season. What makes the Frenchman a good replacement for the aforementioned names is his penchant for scoring from set pieces. It was Diop who scored the first set piece in Moyes’ second spell against Everton in January 2020. In his three-and-a-half-year spell, the centre-half has scored eight goals in 100 appearances.
It is worth highlighting Diop has played the sixth-highest number of minutes of any West Ham player since 2020-21.

Minutes played since 2020-21
Aaron Cresswell
Vladimir Coufal
Craig Dawson
Angelo Ogbonna
Ben Johnson
Issa Diop
Arthur Masuaku
Kurt Zouma (joined in 2021-22)
Ryan Fredericks
The former France under-21 international has had to wait patiently for his chance, while watching Dawson and Zouma leapfrog ahead of him. The Frenchman has been fourth in the pecking order of centre-backs this season.

Diop has played a combined total of 720 minutes in eight cup and league appearances this season. Last season, the centre-half made 21 appearances in all competitions.

Favourably for Diop, what appears most promising is the potential for a long-term defensive pairing alongside Zouma. The French pair are yet to reach their prime, but with Ogbonna, 33, and Dawson, 31, in the twilight of their careers it appears West Ham may have their long-term centre-back combination. Diop was embraced by Zouma at full-time after the centre-back duo impressed in the 2-0 Europa League group stage win at Dinamo Zagreb.
Also waiting in the wings are up-and-coming prospects Jamal Baptiste, 18, and Aji Alese, 20. The duo regularly train with the first team at Rush Green and should feature in the upcoming fixture against Zagreb.

Baptiste is a highly-rated talent and has drawn comparisons to Rio Ferdinand. In the summer, Baptiste travelled with the first team for their pre-season training camp at St Andrew’s, and scored in the friendly against Dundee.
Alese has represented England from under-16s to under-20s, and has had loan spells at Accrington Stanley and Cambridge United. Similar to Baptiste, Alese was one of several academy players to travel with Moyes’ first-team squad to St Andrew’s.

At the start of the season, defence was arguably West Ham’s strongest position. The threadbare nature of Moyes’ defensive options is a concern, but if there was ever a time for Diop to showcase why he has an integral role to play at the club, then it is now.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

ironskej 1:55 Thu Dec 9
Re: Article on Issa Diop
Bloody hell I keep on forgetting about Ryan Fredericks! Is he still injured?

TonkaToy 12:44 Thu Dec 9
Re: Article on Issa Diop
Thanks, but do we only have defenders playing minutes now?

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