Balbuena the victim of Pelle’s left/right decision


Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to team Angelo Ogbnonna with Issa Diop started to pay off against Norwich City as the Irons kept their first clean sheet of the new season.

And it looks likely the boss will stick with the pairing, assuming the fitness of both, as they both produced their best performances of the season.

It doesn’t explain, however, how Fabian Balbuena has fallen out of favour although insiders believe they have an answer to that.

They reckon  Pelle identified a weakness in the partnership last season with both the Paraguayan and Diop being right sided which restricted their effectiveness.

However, the fact remains that whilst Balbuena was injured the current partnership failed to keep clean sheets on anything like a regular basis.

However, it looks certain that they will continue at the heart of the defence for the Villa game and probably beyond that as the manager looks for a new understanding to bed in.

Claret and Hugh followers gave a big thumbs up to the Diop/Oggy when casting their ratings on the site for the Norwich game with the 22 year old receiving an average 6.95 rating and Ogbonna 6.5.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Balbuena hasn’t looked quite as sharp this season, perhaps it is match fitness he is lacking, Diop looked fine last season on the left side of defence so not sure I agree with the suspicions. Our defence is still vulnerable across the back line even if against Norwich we didn’t give away much, it could be argued that was down to us winning the ball back higher up the field couldn’t it ?

  • Good Ole Daze says:

    I don’t see this at all. Valbuena and Diop were good together last year and Valbuena appears to be a better organiser than Ogbonna. He always seems to give it his best shot and comes across as a loyal club servant but Ogbonna has never been able to shake off those lapses in concentration that can cost us dearly. Plus the fact that he’s then got Masuaku outside him. Masuaku is even more prone to getting out of position or suffering from lapses in concentration than Ogbonna. To have the two of them together must be an attractive proposition for any opposing right wingers. Diop was able to cover up for Masuaku going missing up field last season on numerous occasions. I like Ogbonna but I prefer Valbuena to partner Diop. Not a fan of these early international breaks … COYI.

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