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Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

Statistical guide to 2017-18 Premier League season

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Sometimes statistics tell new stories.

Take 2014-15, when Burnley was relegated but Kieran Trippier sneakily lead the Premier League in crosses and Aaron Cresswell did the same in minutes.

Both have turned into league mainstays.

[ MORE: U.S. players in the Premier League ]

So let’s dig into the numbers from what should be a Man City heavy run through the league leaderboard.

Most wins: Man City (32)

Most losses: Swansea City (21)

Most draws: Southampton (15)

Most goals: Man City (106)

Least goals: Swansea City and Huddersfield (28)

Most goals allowed: West Ham and Stoke City (68)

Least goals allowed: Man City (27)

Best goal differential: Man City (+79)

Worst goal differential: Stoke City (-33)

Most goals: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (32)

Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (16)

Yellow cards: Oriol Romeu, Southampton (11)

Team yellow cards: West Ham and West Brom (73)

Red cards: Jonjo Shelvey, Newcastle and Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester (2)

Team red cards: Leicester City (5)

Saves: Jack Butland, Stoke City (141)

Clean sheets: David De Gea, Manchester United (18)

Shots on target: Harry Kane, Spurs (76)

Shots attempted: Kane, Spurs (184)

Shots per game: Man City (17.5)

Least shots per game: Swans (8.9)

Minutes played: Several with 3420 (Jack Cork, Burnley; Lukasz Fabianski, Swans; Alfie Mawson, Swans; Asmir Begovic, Bournemouth; Lewis Dunk, Brighton; Jordan Pickford, Everton; Mat Ryan, Brighton; Harry Maguire, Leicester; Jonas Lossl, Huddersfield; Mathias Jorgensen, Huddersfield).

Fouls suffered: Richarlison, Watford (96)

Fouls committed: Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace (69)

Fouls committed per game: Everton (12.1)

Least fouls committed per game: Bournemouth (8.9)

Offsides: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City (45)

Crosses: De Bruyne, Man City (313)

Corner kicks: De Bruyne, Man City (154)

Penalty kicks attempted: Milivojevic, Palace (8)

Penalty kicks converted: Milivojevic, Palace (7)

Penalty kicks converted without a miss: Sergio Aguero, Man City (4)

Total touches: Nicolas Otamendi, Man City (7820)

Passes: Nicolas Otamendi, Man City (2791)

Pass percentage: Man City (89 percent)

Worst pass percentage: Burnley (70.5 percent)

Possession: Man City (66.4 percent)

Least possession: West Brom (42.8 percent)

Interceptions: Dunk, Brighton (99)

Interceptions per game: Yohan Cabaye, Palace (2.5)

Blocks: Kyle Naughton, Swansea (120)

Tackles: Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester (121)

Tackles per game: Huddersfield (19.6)

Least tackles per game: Bournemouth (13.4)

Highest rated, WhoScored.com: Aguero, Man City (7.81)

Lowest rated, WhoScored.com: Andre Gray, Watford (6.24)

Highest rated per 90, Squawka.com: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (57.82)

Lowest rated per 90, Squawka.com: James McClean, West Brom (-18.53)

Combined goals-assists: Riyad Mahrez to Vardy, Leicester (7)

Aerials won per game: Peter Crouch, Stoke and Christian Benteke, Palace (7.8)

Passing percentage: Andreas Christensen, Chelsea (93.4)

Worst pass percentage, non-GK: Sam Vokes, Burnley (49.4)

Offsides won per game: Christian Kabasele, Watford (1.3)

Clearances per game: Shane Duffy, Brighton (8.8)

Own goals: Dunk, Brighton (4)

Key passes per game: Mesut Ozil, Arsenal (3.2)

Dribbles per game: Hazard, Chelsea (4.9)

Long balls per game, non-GK: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool (5.6)

West Ham 3-1 Everton: Lanzini, Arnautovic finish off Toffees

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Everton will head into the off-season on a down note as West Ham had the last laugh on the final day with a 3-1 win at the Olympic Stadium. Manuel Lanzini scored in the first half and Marko Arnautovic bagged one in the second half to give the Hammers the final three points of the season.

West Ham started well and had a spectacular early chance as Arnautovic played a brilliant one-two with Mark Noble to carve up the Everton defense, but Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a fabulous save to keep the latter out.

The Hammers were forced into an early change as Arthur Masuaku turned his ankle and was forced off, replaced in the 21st minute by Edmilison Fernandes. They worked another big opportunity as West Ham striker shot low five minutes later, and while he beat Pickford, he just barely beat the post as well.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Everton had its first big chance in the 32nd minute as West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna made a meal of a long-ball, leaving Everton striker Cenk Tosun clean through on goal, but Adrian made a fantastic save. West Ham had a handball shout near the end of the 1st half as Tosun tried to defend a low cross to the middle of the box, hitting his arm as he slid towards the ground, but the referee waved it off saying the incident was inadvertent and unavoidable.

The opener came seven minutes before the halftime break, one of the messier goals you’ll see. Chiek Kouyate spun in the middle third and looked to play Arnautovic in through the middle, but the pass threw Arnautovic for a loop and he was unable to control. Luckily, Lanzini was right there to latch onto the misplaced pass, and somehow the Everton defense suddenly appeared lost as Lanzini took the space given to him at the top of the box and fired a low shot past Pickford and tucked inside the right post for the game’s first goal. The strike was a deserved lead for the home side who had mostly dominated the opening frame.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

Everton had a bright start to the second half, having brought on Davy Klassen for Ramiro Funes Mori at the break. Sam Allardyce then brought Theo Walcott on at the hour mark in exchange for Tosun, who was visibly angry with coming off.

It made no difference, as West Ham went 2-0 up moments later on a fabulous goal by Arnautovic. He received the ball in space above the box, turned and shook Michael Keane, and fired into the to the top-right corner giving Pickford no chance. The Hammers had a third in the back of the net on 68 minutes, but on the Arnautovic free-kick, Aaron Cresswell was correctly judged to be offside as he headed home the goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Everton got one back in the 75th minute through Oumar Niasse on a corner as the ball pinged around the box, not cleared before it fell to Niasse at the near post for the striker to smash home for his eighth of the season. That would be as close as they get, because Lanzini grabbed another for West Ham to put it away. Against a pair of defenders, Lanzini cut inside on his right foot and fired a curler that Pickford could only get his fingertips to before it tucked inside the back of the net. Adrian made sure to protect the lead with an impressive double save with five minutes to go.

The win pushes West Ham up a number of spots on the final day, sitting them in 13th with 42 points. For Everton, they end the year with 49 points, enough for a top-half finish in eighth.

Leicester City 0-2 West Ham: Hammers almost safe

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  • West Ham six points above bottom three with two games to go
  • Mario, Noble with goals
  • Leicester’s fourth defeat in five

West Ham United beat Leicester City 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday to all but secure their Premier League safety for this season.

The Hammers scored in each half through Joao Mario and Mark Noble as David Moyes‘ mission to survive relegation is almost over.

With the win West Ham move to 38 points for the season, while Leicester remain on 44 points in ninth place but pressure is building on Claude Puel.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Early on it was tight and tense as West Ham looked dangerous on the but Leicester had plenty of the ball.

West Ham piled on the pressure before the break as Marko Arnautovic hit the woodwork and then moments later they took the lead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

A cross to the back post was hooked back into danger by Arnautovic and Mario slotted home the opener. 1-0 to the Hammers.

Fousseni Diabate went closest for Leicester as he dragged a shot wide of the far post.

Just before half time there was a flashpoint as Arnautovic took a swing at Harry Maguire which the referee booked the Austrian for.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Another huge moment arrived just after the break as Aaron Cresswell handled the ball with Jamie Vardy clean through but again only a yellow was dished out much to the annoyance of Leicester.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

West Ham then got the killer second goal as a free kick fell to Noble on the edge of the box and the Hammers skipper volleyed home superbly to seal the win, and pretty much their survival in the PL for another season.

West Ham 1-4 Man City: Champs on cruise control

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Raheem Sterling was a menace, bagging two assists as Manchester City crushed West Ham United 4-1 at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, and Leroy Sane scored for City, which also found its way to the scoreboard due to a Pablo Zabaleta own goal. City’s 102 goals are one shy of Chelsea’s Premier League record.

Aaron Cresswell scored for West Ham United, now just three points clear of the drop zone with a minus-24 goal difference becoming an increasing concern.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marko Arnautovic and Mark Noble issued a pair of hard fouls early, and Man City responded by almost going ahead through Ilkay Gundogan. The German couldn’t get enough on a cross into the 18, and it bounded through the box.

Sane opened the scoring in the 13th, with Patrice Evra‘s headed block attempt wrong-footing Adrian.

Ederson intervened to stop West Ham’s answer, with Manuel Lanzini‘s cross too far for Aaron Cresswell and punched clear.

An own goal off the boot of Declan Rice and rear end of Pablo Zabaletagave Man City its 100th Premier League goal of the season, and the Citizens had 63 minutes to score three more en route to the record.

That quickly became background noise with a scary head injury to Cheikhou Kouyate, who was lay stricken on the turf for some time. Kouyate went head-to-head with Aymeric Laporte in an accidental collision that the latter saw coming.

But hold on: moments after Marko Arnautovic had a goal pulled back for a foul, Cresswell zipped a gorgeous free kick past a flying Ederson for 2-1. 42′.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

City carved up the West Ham 18 for a third when Jesus cut to the penalty spot and passed behind Adrian.

The Irons could’ve been behind 4-1 when Cresswell cut down Raheem Sterling, but the foul went uncalled.

Fernandinho did make it four, starting and finishing a play with Man of the Match candidate Stirling to put City on the precipice of tying the PL record.