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Craig Dawson silences skeptics with solid West Ham debut

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We all now know that football Twitter has a good side, a bad side and a bad side.

The good normally revolves around something funny, which regardless of your allegiance makes you smile, while the bad and the ugly usually transcend the performance, decisions or comments of players and managers.

But in Craig Dawson’s case, he’s had a pretty tough time just to be a West Ham player.

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Dawson was relegated with Watford at the end of the 2019/20 season | Catherine Ivill / Getty Images

Signed at the end of the transfer window, his arrival from Watford met with derision from much of the club’s fan base, with many suggesting that a player who had just been relegated to the Championship did not fit the profile of someone West Ham should be targeting.

On the surface, that’s fair enough. West Ham have ambitions to become a regular top ten player in the Premier League, with the ultimate goal of bringing Europa League football to east London – the owners have said.

Dawson’s background and career to date, meanwhile, is largely associated with West Brom, who for many years played as a Premier League midfield team, interspersed with a number of battles against relegation. Once the Baggies lost their top-flight status, he quickly moved to Vicarage Road, but suffered a similar fate at the end of the 2019/20 season.

So it was a bit of a surprise when Dawson appeared as an option at the end of the summer transfer window, but a loan was accepted nonetheless – followed by a rather comical announcement tweet and a video of the desperate club. . need to modernize the training ground.

Moyes David
Moyes has faced a lot of criticism on social media for his team selection | Robin Jones / Getty Images

Since then, Dawson has been sidelined with a brief watch, despite various reports suggesting he had been impressive in training. The Hammers’ backline has been pretty settled this season after a string of consistent displays from Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell, while Issa Diop has been the man to step in if needed. In essence, it was not necessary.

But against Southampton, which impressed for the vast majority of 2020 under the Ralph Hasenhuttl squeezing machine, changes were on the way, as West Ham manager David Moyes sought to balance a heavy festive workload that often sees increased fatigue and muscle injuries.

Balbuena came out the side and entered Dawson, not Diop – to the surprise of many. Upon confirmation of his departure location, social media was inundated with criticism of Moyes. The Scotsman was lambasted for picking a full-back that included Dawson and Ryan Fredericks, and many concluded the game was lost before it even started.

That was your pretty standard case of fan negativity, and although Diop’s downfall – he was linked with a move of over £ 50million to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham last year, didn’t remember – is difficult to understand, it was obvious method to the supposed madness of Moyes.

Dawson might not be the fastest, or the tallest, but one thing he was always known for at West Brom in particular was being exceptionally good in the air, a vocal communicator and for his defensive positioning. solid. Against Danny Ings and Che Adams, West Ham needed someone who was well organized, disciplined and unlikely to do anything reckless, also able to ensure that Fredericks was not exposed.

Diop is good – very good actually – but he’s more of a luxury defender who has shown on occasion that he can go out and make a mistake. As it turned out, Dawson not only didn’t put one foot in error, but he – alongside Ogbonna – completely negated any threat offered by the praised Southampton duo of fronts, while keeping the full in check. of Shane Long beans after he came to lead the chains. after an hour.

His display helped West Ham have a relatively comfortable night’s sleep, as with less than a few smart stops from Lukasz Fabianski, Southampton rarely threatened to break the deadlock.

To top it off, Dawson also channeled his inner John Hartson, sensationalizing Adams around the head with a goofy kick of serious speed. Fortunately, the former Birmingham was not concussed or injured in any way, so there is no feeling of guilt remembering the time the former Welsh striker almost had to beheaded Eyal Berkovic in training.

Ultimately, what Dawson’s display should tell us is that the majority of opinions and criticism should come after the final whistle, not before a ball has been kicked. Moyes was sentenced for being wrong, but West Ham was arguably the team that should have gone on to win the game – all it takes is a little bit of belief, which a lot of fans have will now be within 30 years. old after this posting.

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