Craig Dawson silences skeptics with solid West Ham debut

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We all know by now that soccer twitter has a good side, a bad side and an ugly side.

The good usually revolves around something fun, that no matter who your loyalty is with, it makes you smile, while the bad and the ugly tend to transcend around the performances, decisions or comments of players and coaches.

But in Craig Dawson’s case, he had a pretty bad time just being a West Ham player.

Craig dawson
Dawson dropped 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 was met with derision by much of the club’s fan base, with many suggesting that a player who had just been relegated to the Championship did not fit someone’s profile. that West Ham should. to be objective.

On the surface, that’s fair enough. West Ham has the ambition to become a fixture in the top ten of the Premier League, with the ultimate goal of bringing Europa League football to the east end of London; the owners have said so.

Meanwhile, Dawson’s background and career to date are largely associated with West Brom, who for many years was a Premier League side in the middle of the table, interspersed with a series of battles against relegation. Once the Baggies lost their top flight status, it 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 came up as an option at the end of the summer transfer window, but a loan took place anyway, one that was followed by a rather comical announcement tweet and video of the desperate club. . need to modernize the training ground.

David moyes
Moyes received a lot of criticism on social networks for the selection of his team | Robin Jones / Getty Images

Since then, Dawson has been on the sidelines with a brief follow-up, despite multiple reports suggesting he has impressed in training. The Hammers’ bottom line has settled down quite a bit this season after a series of consistent shows from Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell, while Issa Diop has been the man to step in when needed. In essence, it has not been necessary.

But against Southampton, which has impressed for the vast majority of 2020 under the Ralph Hasenhuttl pressing machine, changes were in sight as West Ham manager David Moyes sought to balance a large festive workload that often you see an increase in fatigue and muscle injuries.

On one side Balbuena came out and Dawson entered, not Diop, to the surprise of many. After the confirmation of his place of departure, social networks were filled with criticism of Moyes. The Scotsman was criticized for choosing a back four that included Dawson and Ryan Fredericks, with many concluding that the game was lost before it had started.

It was your pretty standard case of fan negativity, and although Diop’s fall from grace (he was linked to a £ 50m transfer to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham last year, don’t forget) It is difficult to understand, it was obvious method to the supposed insanity of Moyes.

Dawson may not be the fastest, nor may he be 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 strong defensive stance. Against Danny Ings and Che Adams, West Ham needed someone well organized, disciplined and unlikely to do anything rash, also capable of making sure that Fredericks wasn’t exposed.

Diop is good, very good indeed, but he is more of a luxury defender who has shown on occasions that he can disconnect and make a mistake. As it turned out, not only was Dawson not wrong, but, along with Ogbonna, completely nullified any threats offered by Southampton’s praised forward duo, while also subduing the bean-packed Shane Long after he came in to execute the channels. after an hour.

His display helped West Ham enjoy a relatively comfortable night, as barring a pair of clever saves from Lukasz Fabianski, Southampton rarely threatened to break the deadlock.

To top it off, Dawson also channeled his inner John Hartson, sensationally hitting Adams on the head with a clumsy high-speed kick. Fortunately, the former Birmingham player did not suffer a concussion or was injured in any way, so there is no guilt about remembering the time the former Welsh forward nearly beheaded Eyal Berkovic in training.

Ultimately, what Dawson’s display should tell us is that the majority of feedback and criticism should come after the final whistle, not before a ball has been kicked. Moyes was convicted of being wrong, but you could say that West Ham was the team that should have gone to win the game; all it takes is a little faith, something that a lot of fans will now have in their 30s. old after that screen.

For more than Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!

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