How Coufal has transformed West Ham’s right-hand flank

West Ham defender, Vladimir Coufal. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
West Ham defender, Vladimir Coufal. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /

When West Ham purchased Vladimir Coufal in October, not even the most ardent of Hammers fans expected him to be such a roaring success.

Arriving through the aid of his fellow Czech mate Tomas Soucek, the right-back was seemingly brought in as an emergency recruit when in-form Ryan Fredericks picked up an injury against Wolves.

But ever since his debut in a 3-0 win against Leicester, Coufal has slotted seamlessly into the team and has made West Ham’s right-hand side more solid than it has been in many a year.

Defensively, he has a perfect balance of aggression and composure, where he is always ready to take the ball from the opponent but only when the time is right.

Related Story. West Ham Looking At Barca Star To Injury Solves Crisis. light

This was heavily highlighted during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, as Coufal came up against tricky winger Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian tried to bamboozle the Czech with flips and flaps throughout the 90 minutes, but not once did the defender fall for his deception.

Offensively, Coufal was just as effective. His lung-busting run down the wing set up the opportunity for himself to eventually cross the ball in which led to Sebastien Haller’s phenomenal acrobatic goal, earning the Hammers a point.

Overall in the match, he made six tackles and two interceptions, whilst making four key passes and registering an assist. On top of this, he touched the ball 87 times, highlighting just how important he was to West Ham’s play.

Many have likened his game to a younger Pablo Zabaleta, with his bullish drive and never-say-die attitude apparent in every match, but the 13 chances that he has created over the last six game-weeks (more than any other defender in the Premier League) show that he has more strings to his bow than what may meet the eye.

Next. Is West Ham United’s Star Exit Just A Matter Of Time. dark

Whilst he may look a bit older, Coufal is still only 28, meaning that he has the potential to be the Hammer’s starting right-back for years to come, which would be a welcome change from the instability that Irons fans are used to in that position.