Premier League Logo
Talking Tactics

Unfamiliar role adds to value of Cresswell

Adrian Clarke 25 Mar 2018
Aaron Cresswell, West Ham

Adrian Clarke explains why West Ham defender will be a key figure for David Moyes during the run-in

Adrian Clarke looks at six players who could be instrumental to their side’s hopes of staying in the Premier League.

Aaron Cresswell 

Being played out of position has made Aaron Cresswell even more important for West Ham United.

He is nominally a left-back, but has been asked to play in an unfamiliar centre-back role for much of the season. In so doing he has brought balance to the three-man defence.

Cresswell's ability to move wide and act as a full-back when required has allowed David Moyes to field a more adventurous left-sided wing-back in front.

In a team who have struggled for creativity and goals, that has been important.

As a confident passer of the ball, Cresswell will constantly feed the players in front of him rather than play hopeful long passes or look inside.

In his last match against Burnley, 64 per cent of Cresswell’s passes went to wing-back Michail Antonio (19 passes received) or to playmaker Manuel Lanzini (13).

Just 18 of his 50 passes went to other team-mates.

Cresswell is comfortable as a wing-back, too, and his left foot represents a danger in the final third.

West Ham top creators 2017/18
Assists Chances created
Cresswell 6 Lanzini 34
Lanzini 5 Cresswell 32
Arnautovic 3 Arnautovic 23

Across the Premier League Cresswell's 47 long-range crosses are second only to Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton for the most over 18 yards.

Additionally, no one at West Ham has produced more accurate crosses that were not corner-kicks.

West Ham top crossers 2017/18
 Accurate crosses (excl. corners)  Successful final-third passes
Cresswell 19 Lanzini 285
Antonio 12 Cresswell 190
Cresswell 12 Arnautovic 161

The 28-year-old is one of the main set piece-takers, too. Four of his six assists have come from corners or free-kicks, while 20 of his 32 key passes have been from dead-ball situations.

Cresswell’s quality from set-plays will continue to be an asset during the run-in. Going forward and defensively, his adaptability will be vital to West Ham's battle to stay in the division.

Also in this series

Part 1: Tadic creativity key to Saints' destiny
Part 2: Assured Mawson Swansea's shining light
Part 3: Why Milivojevic is central to Palace hopes
Part 5: How Shelvey can help Newcastle hit their target
Part 6: Schindler has strength for Huddersfield's tests ahead

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos