Having joined West Ham in 2014, Aaron Cresswell signed a five year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be just under £4million.
By early 2015, Cresswell went on to be named ‘Hammer of the Year’ and ‘Player’s Player’. In June 2015, he signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2020, with the option to continue for a further two years. But his achievements do not end there…
With the highest number of appearances for West Ham in the 2015-16 season, the left-back played 37 of a possible 38 Premier League games and scored two goals against Aston Villa and current Premier League champions, Leicester City.
After injuring himself in a pre-season friendly against Karlsruher SC, Cresswell was reported to be out for four months, missing the beginning of the season.
Speculation began as to whether or not Arthur Masuaku would take his place in the squad after his recovery, but the cracks quickly began to show.
It’s often said that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and when it comes to Cresswell, I think a lot of us have realised just how much he does in a game. Unfortunately it took him being injured for us to see this.
Last season saw seamless play in all areas of the pitch, and with many of the same players as last season… none of us expected such a drastic change, despite being injury-ridden.
Suddenly, it became apparent how much Cresswell actually does to link the play up between defence and strikers. Picking out the perfect passes and chasing back, he has given players like Payet the opportunity to focus on what they do best.
His first game back against Crystal Palace highlighted just how well Cresswell can play. Not only did he defend, but he got one brilliant assist, taking the ball out to the corner before crossing it beautifully into Lanzini.
The play was exciting, and we were moving forwards. The team were finding space to pass without losing possession and for the first time in a few games, I felt this could be the much-needed turning point in the season.
Where we’ve been frustrating, getting caught out on the counter attack suddenly didn’t matter as much, as we were creating chances.
That’s not to say I didn’t have a mini heart attack when Palace were given a penalty.
In the true West Ham way, we couldn’t have everything go completely to plan. Cresswell was given a yellow card for simulation, when he clearly should have been awarded a penalty. Within 60 seconds, he was then given a second yellow and sent off, for another ‘foul’ which I didn’t think was even worthy of a card.
While you can appeal a red card, appealing yellow cards is not possible, meaning that we are once again Cresswell-less in our game against Sunderland.
All is not lost though… we are out of the relegation zone, the fans seem a lot more positive overall and I like to think this is the beginning of great things to come.
Over and out,