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Report: Javier Hernandez to Valencia

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According to Sky Sports in Italy, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will leave West Ham for Valencia during the January transfer window.

Sky in Italy say that Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer has agreed personal terms with La Liga side Valencia, although there is no mention whether the move is a loan or permanent deal.

Due to Michy Batshuayi’s loan move from Chelsea being cut short, Valencia are looking for a new striker this window but other reports claimed that the Hammers do not want Hernandez to leave.

Hernandez, 30, has featured sparingly for the Hammers this season under Manuel Pellegrini (five goals in 16 games in all competitions) who has preferred Marko Arnautovic up top, while the return to fitness of Andy Carroll has increased competion for minutes for the Mexico legend.

That said, with Arnautovic linked with a move to China, letting Hernandez leave now would be strange timing.

Any move could point to West Ham bringing in significant reinforcements at striker in January, as Hernandez is one of their highest earners. They’ve been linked with an audacious move for Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson.

Chicharito signed for West Ham in the summer of 2017 and has since played for three managers at the London Stadium: Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and now Pellegrini.

His modest return of 13 goals in 49 outings in all competitions is mostly down to his appearances often coming from the bench and injuries, as Chicharito has never had a good run of games for the east London club.

A move to Valencia would make sense. They’re still one of the top clubs in La Liga and although there are 10 points off the top four this season, a top six finish is still very achievable.

Hernandez last played in La Liga for Real Madrid in 2014-15, as he scored seven goals in 23 outings while on loan from Manchester United.

West Ham upset Arsenal (video)

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  • Rice scores first West Ham goal
  • Arsenal’s 2nd defeat in last 3 PL games
  • 16 of the last 18 PL goals scored in this fixture have come in the second half 

West Ham United beat Arsenal 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday as teenager Declan Rice was the hero for the Hammers.

Fresh from signing a new long-term contract and just a few days before his 20th birthday, the West Ham academy graduate smashed home the winner early in the second half to secure a huge win for Manuel Pellegrini‘s Hammers.

The win was just their second in their last 22 PL games against Arsenal, as Unai Emery‘s side struggled to get going and have now lost two of their last three league clashes.

West Ham move up to eighth on 31 points, while Arsenal sit in fifth on 41 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

West Ham started well and Felipe Anderson danced his way towards goal but the Brazilian curled his effort off target.

At the other end Arsenal ripped West Ham apart as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette combined as the latter first had a shot blocked and then fired the rebound over.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Before half time the Hammers fought their way back into the game as Samir Nasri dragged an effort wide of the near post. A long ball over the top nearly led to the opening goal of the game as Marko Arnautovic controlled and played the ball to Nasri who teed up the onrushing Anderson who drilled inches wide of the post.

Matteo Guendouzi then fired an effort just off target and Declan Rice then headed wide as the game continued to open up.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

West Ham had the perfect start to the second half as Arsenal failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Nasri who found Rice in the box and the teenager slammed home to make it 1-0.

At the other end Arsenal were almost level right away, but Lukasz Fabianski saved well as the ball ricocheted off a West Ham defender and towards their own goal. Guendouzi then fired wide as Arsenal pushed hard for an equalizer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Emery sent on Lucas Torreira and Aaron Ramsey in the hope of rescuing a point, and it had an impact. Aubameyang fired over under pressure from Aaron Cresswell as the Gunners threw men forward but they failed to open up the solid West Ham defense.

Late on Arnautovic seemed to wave goodbye to the West Ham fans as he was subbed off, as an unnamed Chinese Super League club continues to try and sign him.

But at the final whistle there was nothing but jubilation from everyone connected with West Ham as they secured their first home Premier League win against Arsenal since 2006.

Premier League preview: West Ham v. Arsenal

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  • Arsenal has lost just 1 of its last 21 PL matches against West Ham
  • Aubameyang has scored in four straight London derbies
  • West Ham has 16 points in its last 8 games, 4th best in the PL

West Ham could hand a debut appearance to Samir Nasri as the Hammers host Arsenal at London Stadium, Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Nasri’s arrival in the West Ham squad times up perfectly with the recent unrest surrounding Marko Arnautovic, who could be held out of the match as rumors swirl about a possible big-money move to China. Arnautovic’s absence would be a brutal blow to the West Ham attack, but Nasri could slot into his place and would have an immediate chance to make an impact on his return to the Premier League. Nasri last played a Premier League match on August 28, 2016 for Manchester City against West Ham.

For Arsenal, the Gunners are without a growing number of injured players, including Mesut Ozil, Laurent Kosciely and Hector Bellerin. Thankfully, it appears they will have natural defenders along the back line, as Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal are apparently fit, as is Konstantinos Mavropanos.

The Gunners must be wary of a trap game against the Hammers, with an enormous match against fourth-placed Chelsea on the horizon. If Arsenal can keep focus, they could put pressure on the Blues ahead of their upcoming match that will be critical in shaping the race for the final Champions League position.

What they’re saying

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini on responding to season-opening loss to Arsenal: “We have changed a lot more with four months of working. We didn’t play badly against Arsenal last time, but we lost with an own goal but after that we have worked hard, improved in every sense.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery on West Ham: “I know he [Pellegrini] needs time to create his idea with the team. I think they are improving and they also have good individual players with quality. Players like Anderson, like Arnautovic, who are very good players. They are also playing at home with their supporters and that’s difficult for us.  Each away match is a very big challenge for us to find consistency and progression with our way. Saturday is a new challenge. We are [determined] to play [well] and to work hard in finding our victory.”

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Prediction

This match greatly hinges on the status of Arnautovic. While Samir Nasri could have a big day in his return, Arnautovic brings an element to West Ham that is special among their squad. If he doesn’t play, it’s likely Arsenal wins 2-0 thanks to Aubameyang’s good form up front.

Top Premier League storylines for Week 22

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The Premier League returns for the first time in a week-and-a-half when Arsenal and West Ham United kick off Saturday morning on NBCSN.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Picks ]

It will be Liverpool’s first unit’s first chance to bounce back from the Man City defeat, while Paul Pogba and Manchester United attempt to prove that their resurgence isn’t down to a forgiving run of schedule.

Solskjaer’s Man Utd gets its first real test at Wembley Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United, 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Red Devils have won four-straight Premier League matches since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford, but have faced no test anything like Spurs. Tottenham has its table-topping dreams alive, but will be challenged in its legs and depth due to Tuesday’s tough League Cup semifinal first leg defeat of Chelsea.

Blues protect Top Four status as woeful Newcastle visits
Chelsea vs. Newcastle United, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

Rafa Benitez‘s Newcastle has been tough to break down this season, but Chelsea will be facing more pressure from itself and fifth place Arsenal. The Blues’ Top Four cushion is just three points, and the Magpies have found success at Stamford Bridge on occasion.

Pep’s men face giant-killing Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves
Man City vs. Wolves, 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The visitors have done pretty well against the big boys during their return to the Premier League, but a defeat of Liverpool and a pair of lower league defenses have allowed Man City to find its flow ahead of Monday’s visit. It promises to be a treat in one way or another.

Leaders Liverpool aim to end “barely slump”
Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Liverpool, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

The Reds were unlucky to not gain a point against City, and fell victim to Jurgen Klopp‘s “Let’s rest almost everyone” strategy in bowing out of another cup competition. Still, it’s two-straight losses for Liverpool and a trip to face Chris Hughton‘s very tricky Seagulls. Brighton is unbeaten in three and angling for a statement win.

Angsty Arnautovic, Irons host Arsenal
West Ham United vs. Arsenal, 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

West Ham’s table charge has slowed in recent weeks, with Manuel Pellegrini‘s men slumping to just four points in four matches. Now 10th in the table, smack in the middle of a seven-team table cluster, the Irons are also dealing with an angry striker. Marko Arnautovic has made noise about wanting Champions League football, but now he’s sitting with a massive money offer from China and West Ham doesn’t want to accept the bid.

West Ham block Arnautovic exit

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West Ham United and Marko Arnautovic are embroiled in a very public and rather ugly transfer battle.

After a bid of over $45 million was reportedly tabled by an unnamed Chinese Super League club Wednesday (believed to be reigning CSL champs Shanghai SIPG) for West Ham’s star striker, Arnautovic’s agent and brother has said he wants to leave the Hammers.

Danijel Arnautovic released the following statement to talkSPORT in the UK.

“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20million for him, which is nothing in the current market. They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award. Now West Ham have a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him. He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.”

The Hammers responded to the claims with this brief, and rather curt, statement:

Your move, Marko…

Arnautovic, 29, is contracted to West Ham until the summer of 2022 and if the Hammers do not want to sell him then this is a very tough situation to sort out. It is almost a case of deja vu for the Hammers when you think about the situation they had with Dimitri Payet just over two years ago.

Reports suggest Arnautovic will double his wages to $255,000 per week if he moves to China and given his rather lavish lifestyle off the pitch, that extra cash will come in handy in the long run…

The Austrian has been West Ham’s best player by a country mile since joining from Stoke in the summer of 2017, scoring 18 goals in 46 Premier League games and almost single-handedly keeping them in the PL last season. He played a starring role as a lone striker under David Moyes in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign and despite a few injuries he has continued that form into this season under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Arnautovic has a reputation as a trouble maker and a volatile character when things aren’t going his way and it will be intriguing to see how his performances on the pitch play out, despite his brother going on to say “he will give 100 per cent for West Ham” as long as he is at the club. He added that he hopes the Hammers fans understand that “things move on” in sport, but if he wants the supporters to believe that Arnautovic’s main motive for this move is to challenge for titles then he will lose plenty of respect from West Ham’s fans right away.

Their leading goalscorer this season reacted rather angrily towards Pellegrini after being subbed off during West Ham’s 2-0 FA Cup third round win against Birmingham City last weekend (he scored the opener) and the former Inter Milan star was perhaps preempting this possible January exit with his actions.

All of this comes just when it looked like West Ham had figured things out with their squad as Pellegrini had bought wisely in defense this summer, locked Declan Rice down to a new long-term deal and club-record signing Felipe Anderson was purring in support of Arnautovic in attack.

Many will simply say: ‘this is what we warned you about when you signed Arnautovic.’