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Arthur’s seat on the West Ham bus could be vital in next few games

PUBLISHED: 14:15 01 December 2016

West Ham United's Arthur Masuaku takes on Manchester United's Luis Antonio Valencia

West Ham United's Arthur Masuaku takes on Manchester United's Luis Antonio Valencia

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Hammers defender Arthur Masuaku returned from injury at Manchester United on Wednesday night

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game during the EFL Cup, Quarter Final match at Old Trafford, Manchester as Winston Reid and Arthur Masuaku look on Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game during the EFL Cup, Quarter Final match at Old Trafford, Manchester as Winston Reid and Arthur Masuaku look on

Talk of the impending return to action of Andy Carroll proved something of a distraction ahead of Wednesday night’s EFL Cup clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford – but there was another player who was making his comeback.

Arthur Masuaku has been missing since damaging knee ligaments and being stretchered off against Accrington Stanley in round three of the EFL Cup, but he was surprisingly back on the bench in midweek and when Aaron Cresswell limped off, he got his chance.

“It was nice to be back, but it is always tough to come in against someone like Manchester United away from home,” said Masuaku following the 4-1 defeat.

“I tried to do my best, it didn’t happen, but we have to come back and work hard as a team.”

West Ham United's Michail Antonio picks up an injury West Ham United's Michail Antonio picks up an injury

Aside from one disastrous display at West Brom, the 23-year-old Frenchman had made a solid start in his West Ham career until that injury against Accrington.

“It was a similar injury to ‘Cress’,” he said. “It was my left knee and the ligaments, so it has been almost two months out.

“It has been a little bit quicker than expected, normally it is up to 10 weeks, but I have managed to get back in eight and a half, which is good.”

It was certainly a case of going in at the deep end for the former Olympiacos full-back who replaced Cresswell just before the break and then saw United score a vital goal through Anthony Martial early in the second half.

West Ham's Aaron Cresswell sits injured at Old Trafford (pic Nigel French/Empics) West Ham's Aaron Cresswell sits injured at Old Trafford (pic Nigel French/Empics)

“We did come back into the game after going behind so early and it is always good to go in at half-time when the score is good for us,” he said.

“Their goal early in the second half was crucial I think. To suffer that sort of blow makes it very difficult to come back.”

That was certainly true. West Ham visibly wilted after that with only a couple of efforts from Sofiane Feghouli close to the end to show for their endeavours, while injury to Michail Antonio compounded their problems.

“It makes things even more difficult because they are both so important for the team,” added Masuaku. “Let’s hope they are going to come back very soon.”

Masuaku may have been on the sidelines for eight weeks, but it is clear that he is already a part of the squad and has blended in well with the rest of the boys.

He was delighted to see young Ashley Fletcher score on Wednesday night.

“I was very happy for Ashley. He told me that he played for Man United, but not for the first team and then he scored against his old team,” he said.

Absence for Cresswell could mean the Frenchman has more chances to impress in the team, so how did he come through Wednesday’s match?

“I am not fit, I am not fit!” he said emphatically. “I didn’t feel the injury which is very positive, but it is now a case of trying to get match fit more and more.”

With things the way they are with injuries at the moment, we will settle for that. At least he is ready to play.

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