With almost a quarter of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign already behind us, it’s now time to have a look at how our Claret & Blue stars have been performing in defence as we sit ugly in the relegation zone heading into a hectic festive period.
Joe Hart: 6/10
It has been a mixed start to the season for the England man after signing on loan from Manchester City in the summer, but he has managed to keep his place in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions Squad throughout.
While performances such as the one away at Selhurst Park have dazzled fans, they have been muddled up with questionable showings like at The London Stadium against Brighton & Hove Albion, and Hart has conceded the most goals in The PL (23) so far, he will be eager to improve after The International Break.
Playing the familiar role of backup goalkeeper to Hart, the Spaniard is yet to make an appearance in The League this season but is guaranteed at least two starts due to the terms of his teammate’s loan deal.
Adrian’s Carabao Cup showings have also put pressure on The No1, with two clean sheets out of three games and a wonderful showing away at Wembley, he will hope that opportunities come his way heading into the New Year.
Pablo Zabaleta: 8/10
Despite making a few small errors here and there, the Argentine has been the signing of the summer so far, cementing his place at right-back or right-wing back with some performances that matched that of those ten years to his junior.
Zabaleta has proved a fantastic option to have on the right side of attack but also solid at full-back in a defensive sense, starting all but one League game so far, the exception being The London Stadium defeat to Liverpool that he missed due to suspension.
Sam Byram: 7/10
Being replaced in the right-back position by the man that Slaven Bilic brought in to mentor him would have been a blow for the young defender at the start of the season, but he has performed well in Cup matches.
However, just when he didn’t want it to, injury struck for Byram and he now faces weeks on the sidelines after missing his opportunity to start a PL clash with The Reds, his role under new boss David Moyes is unclear.
Declan Rice: 9/10
One of the few success stories of this dismal campaign so far has been the Irish youngster and his rapid rise to first-team prominence, attracting Footballing attention and prise from afar.
The 18-year-old has started in five games in all Competitions in this campaign, performing outstandingly in each of them, either in a centre-back or central-defensive role, recent weeks have seen him fall back into The U23 side, will Moyes reinstate him amidst a defensive injury crisis?
Winston Reid: 7/10
A slightly under-par beginning to the season by the New Zealand skipper’s standards, but he has had numerous injury concerns to contend with, missing much of the early part of the season.
When he has been fit and mostly holding The Captain’s Armband, Reid has been as much a part as anyone else of the worst defence in The Premier League in 2017/2018, uncharacteristically inconsistent, but he has performed well in Internationals recently.
Jose Fonte: 7/10
It has been very much a story of massively impressive and quite woeful displays so far from the Portugal international, as he has been the first-choice at centre-back for most of the campaign to this date.
A serious mistake has never seemed to be too far away this season for Fonte, however, we now won’t see him in action till 2018 after he sustained an injury at Selhurst Park that has required Foot Surgery to repair, will he come back in better form?
Angelo Ogbonna: 6/10
The highlight of the first quarter of the campaign for the Italian has surely been two goals in the Carabao Cup, the opener at home to Bolton Wanderers and a vital winner away at Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-3 victory, but aside from that, he has struggled for game time.
At times, even having a midfielder in the form of Cheikhou Kouyate preferred at centre-back to him at times in League games, when he has been picked, his showings have been as unpredictable as the rest of the defence, however, Fonte’s injury could mean more chances for him.
James Collins: 6/10
The veteran defender enjoyed a consistent start to the campaign at centre-half but was struck by injury in mid-September and it has kept him out ever since then and should continue to do for the upcoming games.
Collins recently announced his retirement from International Football with Wales, stating that he wanted to focus on Domestic Football and that he was far from finished with West Ham United, it will be good to see “Ginger Pele” return.
Aaron Cresswell: 7/10
Mostly being preferred to his French rival in the left-back position, the England International has struggled to reach the heights of previous seasons but is another example of a player that has been blighted by the odd injury knock.
However, the main highlight for Cresswell has been his first Three Lions start away in Lithuania, he will hope that areas of his game such as crossing can improve drastically under Moyes in the coming weeks.
Arthur Masuaku: 7/10
Featuring as the second string left-sided full-back, Masuaku has been given a small number of chances in PL games ahead of Cresswell to prove what he can do but has shown each time that he can’t be trusted defensively.
Despite this, coming on as an impact substitute and starting in Carabao Cup clashes, the DR Congo International has turned heads, netting his first goal in Claret & Blue against The Trotters at the London Stadium, it’s unsure whether he will be used further up the field with the new Gaffer.
So, now that the defensive half of David Moyes’ Squad has been rated from the first portion of the season, make sure you join us again next time to have a look at how the rest of our Hammers have been performing and if you disagree with any of our choices or to join the debate, head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter.