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It'll be all right like Ben White for David Moyes as West Ham follow Arsenal's lead with transformative defensive reshuffle

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It'll be all right like Ben White for David Moyes as West Ham follow Arsenal's lead with transformative defensive reshuffle

It’ll be all right like Ben White for David Moyes as West Ham follow Arsenal’s lead with transformative defensive reshuffle.

When asked to name managers who influenced him most during his career as a player and coach, many might assume Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta would default to the great Pep Guardiola.

But Gunners manager Arteta, who rose to prominence in the Premier League under the West Ham boss at Everton, always doffs his cap to Moyes.

“I think he made me a better person, made me mature in the earlier stages of my career,” Arteta once told The Guardian.

“He was really demanding and challenging but at the same time really, really supportive.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“I really liked how he managed the group as well as the individuals. He really installed a real belief around the club to be together all the time, to look after each other, and nobody was more important than the team. He really created a special atmosphere when we were together.”

Arteta has completely rejuvenated Arsenal into one of the most exciting, young, vibrant teams in Europe.

Casual observers will point to the summer signing of Gabriel Jesus as the key ingredient to Arsenal’s scintillating form this season.

But it is a subtle change at the back by Arteta which has been just as crucial to Arsenal’s elevation. And it is one which Moyes can now emulate as West Ham strive to push on to another level.

It’ll be all right like Ben White for David Moyes as West Ham follow Arsenal’s lead with a transformative defensive reshuffle.

It’ll be all right like Ben White for David Moyes as West Ham follow Arsenal’s lead with transformative defensive reshuffle

Defender White was signed as a central defender by Arsenal. And although he has probably been one of their most consistent performers since his arrival, there has always been a feeling he could make a mistake which may cost the team.

Thilo Kehrer was signed by West Ham for a bargain £10m in the summer from PSG. The Hammers only got the defender so cheaply because his contract was running out at the end of this season.

Kehrer, like White, is a central defender and lists it as his preferred position.

But – like Arsenal star White – Kehrer is also versatile and prone to the odd rush of blood error that can prove costly.

Kehrer was caught under a cross as Viborg scored on his debut in a Europa Conference League win, gave away a penalty on his Premier League bow against Brighton, scored an own goal against Spurs and was deemed to have been at fault during a late defeat against Chelsea.

The athletic German was also criticised for not failing to throw his body at Neal Maupay’s shot which proved to be the winner in West Ham’s defeat to Everton.

There were mitigating factors in all of those incidents. And it says everything about Kehrer’s quality that he is already a firm favourite with West Ham fans.

Arteta’s decision to move White to right-back raised eyebrows initially. But my how it has helped transform the Gunners.

After performing well at right-back for Germany during the international break, Moyes decided to move Kehrer to the same position for West Ham against Wolves. The change was made easier but the poor form of Vladimir Coufal, but it is a move which – like Arsenal – could help completely transform West Ham.

The impact was instant and it was no coincidence that West Ham won, kept a rare clean sheet and looked a vastly improved outfit with Kehrer doing a Ben White.

White offers Arsenal more defensive solidity in one on ones – as you would expect from a central defender – at right-back but also has plenty of pace and agility to get up and down.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

At the same time if he makes a mistake, the threat to Arsenal’s goal is not as acute as it was when he was playing in the centre, where William Saliba is making the position his own.

The same will be true for Kehrer and West Ham. Suddenly what was probably West Ham’s weakest link – certainly in terms of personnel – becomes a real strength.

Arteta may have been the one learning from his mentor Moyes in the past.

But now the Spaniard is showing the way for his old boss and it can only benefit the Hammers in the long run.

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