West Ham face a defensive crisis in their bid to win the Europa League

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West Ham face a defensive crisis in their bid to win the Europa League with Issa Diop ‘potentially missing the rest of the season’ with an ankle issue… leaving Craig Dawson the only fit centre-back for Eintracht Frankfurt tie

  • Issa Diop suffered suspected ligament damage in 1-1 draw with Burnley 
  • Craig Dawson is West Ham’s only fit centre-back as they target European glory
  • Injury to Diop leaves David Moyes with selection headache for Frankfurt clash
  • West Ham play Frankfurt in first leg of Europa League semi-final on April 28 

West Ham are facing a defensive crisis in their bid to win the Europa League after defender Issa Diop suffered an ankle injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season.

Diop could miss the next eight weeks with ligament damage suffered in the Hammers’ 1-1 draw with Burnley on Sunday, according to The Guardian.

The Frenchman’s injury leaves West Ham boss David Moyes with only one fit centre-back as they prepare for their crunch Europa League semi-final with Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Issa Diop sustained an injury in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Burnley at the London Stadium

Issa Diop sustained an injury in West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Burnley at the London Stadium

David Moyes has a selection headache at centre-back for the Europa League semi-final

David Moyes has a selection headache at centre-back for the Europa League semi-final

Craig Dawson is the only available central defender as Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma are also sidelined.

Moyes, who is hoping to steer West Ham to their first victory in a European semi-final since 1976, could be forced to deploy Declan Rice at the heart of his defence against Bundesliga outfit Frankfurt.

Another solution could be moving Ben Johnson, who can play in both full-back positions, into the centre to partner Dawson.

Academy stars Jamal Baptiste or Aji Alese, who played in the Europa League group stage defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in December, could also be called into the senior squad to ease Moyes’ defensive woes.

Craig Dawson is West Ham's only fit centre-back following the injury to Diop

Craig Dawson is West Ham’s only fit centre-back following the injury to Diop

Moyes may also consider a tactical switch to a back three to offset his problems at centre-back.

Ogbonna has been out of action with a knee injury since November, while West Ham fear Zouma – who missed the busy festive period with a hamstring problem – could be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign because of an ankle injury. 

West Ham will be hoping Diop returns earlier than expected as they target European glory in the final weeks of the season.

The Hammers, who are seventh in the Premier League, host Frankfurt at the London Stadium in the first leg of the semi-final on April 28 before they travel to Germany for the return on May 5.

The Europa League final takes place in Seville on May 18.

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