West Ham's boy from Brazil is showing what a class act he is
PUBLISHED: 12:30 30 August 2018
Hammers midfielder Felipe Anderson could prove a bargain at £42 million
Underwhelming. That had been the verdict of West Ham fans about club record signing Felipe Anderson so far this season.
That was until Saturday’s match at Arsenal when the Brazilian shone in a new role as a number 10 and we all realised just what a prize asset the club have.
Back in August 2015, Dimitri Payet announced himself on the Premier League scene by helping the Hammers to a shock 2-0 win over Arsenal.
It was his third appearance, but Anderson announced himself with a superb display of attacking intent in dangerous places.
In the first two matches, the former Lazio star had played more on the wing, but here he was at the heart of things in the middle of the park.
Not only did he play a wonderful one-two with Marko Arnautovic for the opening goal, he also had a goalbound shot blocked, ran forward to put Arsenal under pressure and was at the heart of everything good.
With Manuel Lanzini injured, it was a position that needed to be filled and Anderson filled those boots superbly.
Statistically he was impressive.
Anderson led West Ham in distance covered during the match (11.67km), in sprints (17), touches (72), passes (47), key passes (three) and free-kicks won (four), while he also won possession eight times.
Statistics are one thing, but it is results that matter and the reality was that despite all the Brazilian’s efforts, West Ham still lost to a far from impressive Arsenal side, who were also pointless after their opening two games.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini was his usual understated self when talking about the £40million man.
“Felipe can play different positions, today he did well behind the striker,” said the boss.
But the impact Anderson made in the middle of the park on Saturday must surely have convinced him that this is his best and most effective position, at least until Lanzini returns around the turn of the year.
Payet helped the Hammers to a 2-0 win three years ago and if West Ham had taken their chances on Saturday then they could well have earned another three points.
When you spend so much money on a player, expectations are predictably high, but it seems that Anderson may be worthy of all that hype.