Craig Dawson

Looking back on Craig Dawson’s 2021/22 season...

Before the season

Craig Dawson initially joined West Ham United on 12 October 2020 on a season-long loan, bringing additional Premier League experience and quality to the Irons’ backline – but he was forced to wait for his debut in Claret & Blue.

But after the Rochdale-born centre-back did make his first appearance – in a 0-0 draw with Southampton on 29 December 2020 – he didn’t look back, Dawson helping the Hammers to clean sheets in his first three Premier League appearances.

Dawson’s solidity persisted as the Hammers suffered just six defeats in his 24 appearances in all competitions, helping the Irons to earn 14 wins and finish sixth in the Premier League, and securing a place in the UEFA Europa League in the process.

How did 2021/22 go?

If you’ve seen the ‘Ballon d’Orson’ meme floating around, you can hazard a guess!

The 32-year-old was in imperious form throughout 2021/22, starting 45 of the Hammers’ 56 games in all competitions and helping his side to 16 clean sheets to boot.

After starting the first four games of the season, Dawson began to be rotated with Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop in the autumn, but following a season-ending injury to Ogbonna in November, established himself as a vital cog in the Irons’ defence.

It was on the Europa League stage where Dawson really shone, however; after making his European debut in the 2-0 win over Rapid Vienna in September, the defender scored his first goal of the season in the following group-stage game against KRC Genk, a 3-0 win at London Stadium.

And after the Irons secured top spot in Group H, Dawson would start all six knockout fixtures on their historic run to the semi-finals…

Craig Dawson

2021/22 highlights

… most memorably scoring the opening goal in our quarter-final second-leg win at Olympique Lyonnais, a display for which he later received the Individual Performance of the Season trophy at the 2021/22 Player Awards – and one which likely contributed to him being named in the Europa League Team of the Season.

Dawson and his teammates knew their work would be cut out to keep a much-fancied Ligue 1 side – whose team boasted then-Europa League top scorer Karl Toko Ekambi – at bay at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, but wherever a Lyon attacker was that night, Dawson put himself in the way, blocking an incredible six shots and making six clearances.

The defender was also on form in front of goal domestically, scoring in back-to-back Premier League games in February with goals in draws against Leicester City – a last-minute equaliser at the King Power Stadium – and Newcastle United.

Standout stat

Ever on the front foot, Dawson averaged 0.9 tackles, 0.9 interceptions and 4.1 clearances per game in Premier League football last season.

Season by Numbers

Appearances: 50 (34 Premier League, 10 UEFA Europa League, 3 FA Cup, 3 EFL Cup)
Minutes Played: 4,206
Goals: 4 (2 Premier League, 2 UEFA Europa League)
Assists: 2 (both Premier League)

Next up in 2022/23?

The centre-back’s conscientiousness is sure to see Dawson return to pre-season training for 2022/23 ready to hit the ground running, having already demonstrated the value of his steady influence and leadership in the Hammers’ backline over the last two seasons.

Season Ticket renewals open for 2022/23 Premier League season