Time For Quiet West Ham Defender To Receive Praise

Fabian Balbuena, West Ham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Fabian Balbuena, West Ham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena’s performances may have gone under the radar in recent weeks but is deserving of some recognition.

It has been very rare during the last few matches that the name Fabian Balbuena would have been mentioned.  The West Ham defender has proved many doubters wrong after his poor form last season. Balbuena’s form last year was well below par, and it was believed that he could have been on the way out of the club.

This season however Balbuena has been as key to the club’s success as anyone. The Paraguayan was only given a chance once Issa Diop was out of the team self-isolating after a positive COVID-19 test. Since then, Balbuena has not looked back.

The ‘General‘ has played in every Premier League game since the defeat to Arsenal. Balbuena has been a major part of a defence that has become one of the best in the division. The Hammers have only conceded eleven goals this season, the joining third-best record.

Many of the pundits have focused their praise on Vladimir Coufal‘s seamless transition to the Premier League or Angelo Ogbonna‘s renaissance. Some have also praised Aaron Cresswell for his recent improvements in defence. None though have spoken of Balbuena’s recent success.

Fabian Balbuena, West Ham.
Fabian Balbuena, West Ham. (Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images) /

Balbuena’s name is not one that is often mentioned, and his performances have gone under the radar. For a defender, however, that can be seen as a good trait to have. Balbuena has made solid contributions in all of the games he has started. The Paraguayan has averaged 1.5 tackles, 2 interceptions and a huge 5.9 clearances per ninety minuted according to whoscored.com.

Even in the Tottenham game when the team conceded three goals, he got himself on the scoresheet with a thumping header. Including this goal, the defender has averaged an impressive rating of 7.03 this season. That rating is better than Ogbonna, who is scored at 6.79 on average.

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Balbuena is just one of the recent West Ham players to turn their career around. The 29-year-old’s improvement could be the greatest of a comeback story of them all. The defender, whose contract is expiring at the end of the season should be in line for a new deal.