Image via: Max Pixel
Diogo Dalot deserves more praise than he’s receiving, after an excellent outing against West Ham.
Manchester United finally seem to be hitting their stride. Seven goals in their last couple of Premier League games, winning six points in the process, is certainly a step in the right direction.
Yes, it’s far from perfect. Yes, there are things that Erik ten Hag’s side can work on. However, I feel far more positive about our chances going forward right now than I did a week ago. Suddenly, it feels like it’s starting to click.
The likes of Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund deserve all the plaudits after their respective displays yesterday, though I’d like to focus in someone who I’ve been hugely critical of in the past; Diogo Dalot.
The man from Portugal has emerged as the starting right-back under United’s Dutch gaffer, showcasing superior on-ball ability to the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Yes, the ex-Porto defender may not have the defensive qualities that the Englishman has, but the all-round game is more in line with the way Ten Hag likes to play.
In regard to yesterday’s performance, we have to start with that truly outrageous block. Jarrod Bowen was through on goal, then Dalot came out of absolutely nowhere, throwing his body in front of the ball to save an almost certain West Ham strike. It was a thing of beauty. The crowd and his fellow players both showed their appreciation in abundance immediately after.
He’s always been a passionate player who wears his heart on his sleeve, always willing to high five his teammates after some good work. Often, these little things can lead to a far more positive playing environment. That cannot be understated.
Diogo Dalot was absolutely outstanding today. That block after the Maguire mistake. Simple World Class. pic.twitter.com/PAiYiA3EGq
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 4, 2024
Dalot may not be the elite defender, but I’d argue the modern-day full-back is less about that. He has the pace and positional awareness to do a solid job on his opposite number, while providing that energy that’s required to bomb up and down the field.
He’s also incredibly versatile. Ask him to play at left-back and he’ll do a more than good enough job over there. He’s also been deployed as a winger in times gone by and with our current struggles in that area of the field, I wouldn’t be wholly surprised to see that happen again at some point.
The thing with Dalot is that he’s never going to give you that 10/10 display, but nor will he give you a 2/10. Consistency is key with him. He’ll always prove to be solid, if unspectacular. That’s not a criticism. You need players like that to win titles. Sometimes, reliability is the aim of the game.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Dalot has become a tad bit underrated. Yes, he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, I’m still not convinced he can start week-in-week-out in a title-winning side. However, he deserves more respect than he’s getting right now and I’m more than happy to hold my hands up and admit I was wrong a bout him.
Well played, Diogo.
Do you think Diogo Dalot has what it takes to make that right-back slot his own? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.