Welcome back to the best of the Rest XI so far. In this series we have been partnered with ViZi to help put together a team of the best players in the Premier League season thus far, but only from the ‘Other 14’. Today we finish the defensive line up for the team by adding a LB to an already formidable backline and keeper.
No position in this defence was easy to pick, there was multiple contenders everywhere, and LB was particularly hard because, unlike RB where we had a linty of choices and options, there were far fewer options, but all have been playing at a high level. After a long discussion there was two possible options, but we realised with the two player per team constraint that there was really only one option. West Ham United’s Aaron Cresswell.
Cresswell has played every minute of this Premier League season so far with West Ham and has already proved to be a valuable asset to the club, continuing brilliant form that he has had ever since he joined West Ham six years ago!
Ever since joining the club, Creswell has made 205 Premier League appearances whilst also contributing 30 goal, meaning he contributes a goal on average every 6.8 games! Which is phenomenal from a defender. Already this season is Cresswell ranking up the assists with 4 in 17 games, helping West Ham to victories over the likes of Leicester, Wolves, Villa and Everton.
Cresswell often gets overlooked in my eyes, when you think of players who are underrated, I think that Cresswell is up there. The fact that a player of his quality has only had 3 England caps is quite astonishing and I think had Cresswell been playing for ‘Big 6’ side we would have seen him in the team a lot more! Because let’s face it, is he not up to the level of Chilwell and Shaw?
Well let’s find out as we pair him up against one of the more praised LB’s in the League this season, Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney. Despite Arsenal being placed a spot below West Ham in the League you would be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t so especially with the coverage of both Tierney and Cresswell. That being Tierney get lots of plaudits and being called the next Arsenal captain whilst Cresswell is only spoken about when West Ham win. So, let’s put the two London rivals to the test. LB v LB, West Ham v Arsenal and England v Scotland:
Well, it would seem to me that the graph is pretty conclusive. Both players clearly have a very similar style of play with the two charts looking almost identical. Pressures, interceptions and tackles all looking remarkably similar between the two players.
But overall, it is Cresswell who quite comfortably wins this fight; he is four times higher with assists, gives away half the turnovers and fouls as well as doubling the number of passes in the final third. Both players are seen as attacking wing backs and that is clear to see, Tierney does far dribbles while Cresswell gets himself into the final third far more often.
Another way to look at this is that now at 31 Cresswell is far more experienced than Teirney, who is 23, so maybe this is why Teirney gets all the plaudits while Cresswell gets overlooked. But the experience is showing here, the less turnovers and the less fouls are testament to that.
Either way the fact is Cresswell has been a baller so far this season for West Ham and is having a brilliant season, he has contributed to 16% of West Ham’s goals this season and is directly responsible for at least 5 points. It is clear to see why we picked him and makes up a World Class back line from the teams in the other 14!
Lamptey – Fofana – Vestergaard – Cresswell
Shorter one today but it was much clearer than usual, tomorrow we will begin the midfield, who do you think will be in?
Thanks for reading!