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Pellegrini: Wilshere returning to West Ham lineup soon

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Jack Wilshere has made just five appearances for West Ham United this season, but the number six is coming soon.

The Hammers have very slim hopes for seventh place, but also need to restore some positive vibes at the end of a tough stretch which includes losses to to Everton, Manchester United, and Chelsea.

[ UCL RECAPS: Man City-Spurs | Porto-Liverpool ]

Now it’s Leicester City, a direct rival at mid-table, and Manuel Pellegrini is quick to remind us that West Ham has had plenty of obstacles in the form of injury as he looks to build a European contender. From Sky Sports:

“He’s a midfielder that we need because in that position we have (had) so many times all of them injured. (Andriy) Yarmolenko, Wilshere and Lanzini, so the return for Jack will be a good injection.”

Having played for the U-23s again last week, it sounds like Wilshere may start on Saturday (though Pellegrini says it may take another week).

Wilshere nearing West Ham return; Carroll linked with New England

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Injury-plagued or not, Manuel Pellegrini insists West Ham United must continue to fight for a place in Europe until it becomes mathematically impossible.

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“I always demand more from the players, from myself and from everyone,” Pellegrini said on Thursday. “If you ask if it’s a good season; nine games before the finish we were not fighting against relegation, with an average of five or six players not available. From that point of view, it’s not a bad season.”

Pellegrini visits his former derby rivals Manchester United on Saturday in a must-win if West Ham is to challenge for seventh. The Irons are five points back of that target.

Jack Wilshere is close to returning, with Pellegrini saying the English midfielder has one more U-23 match to go until he dons the senior team kit. Samir Nasri is also out with a muscle injury, while Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez are still a couple of weeks away.

Andy Carroll has undergone ankle surgery. The news of his surgery comes as the injury-plagued striker is linked with a move to Major League Soccer after this summer, with a source telling ProSoccerTalk that New England is a possible landing point for the former Liverpool star.

The 30-year-old has appeared in just 30 matches since the start of the 2017-18 season.

Wilshere warns Arsenal not to lose “future captain” Ramsey

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West Ham United man Jack Wilshere knows a thing or two about working out contracts with Arsenal, and has issued a stern warning to the Gunners when it comes to Aaron Ramsey.

Wilshere says Ramsey should be a “future captain” for Unai Emery, and that allowing the Welsh player to leave — for free, no less — is a head-scratcher.

[ MORE: Spurs injury update ]

Given the players’ long-term friendship, it’s fair to say Wilshere knows his stuff when he intimates that Ramsey would appreciate more time in North London, and he poses this question.

From The Islington Gazette:

“I think you’ve got to look at the situation and ask: ‘How many top teams in the Premier League and elsewhere could he get in?’ And you’d have to say them all – and that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”

This is pretty true, aside from Man City. And you’d have to give Ramsey a shot of making his presence felt there as well.

Emery is trying to forge a new identity for Arsenal, and Ramsey’s had his fair share of injury issues, but allowing Ramsey to walk does seem a bit silly.

Ankle surgery to sideline Jack Wilshere for six weeks

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West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere will miss significant time after picking up an ankle injury in training that requires surgery, according to reports in England, first from The Guardian.

Wilshere signed for West Ham over the summer after the expiry of his contract at Arsenal, and played the first four games of the season – all losses – before suffering the injury just prior to the Everton match this weekend. 19-year-old Declan Rice came in for Wilshere and the Hammers won 3-1 at Goodison Park.

The Guardian reports that West Ham handed the 26-year-old a three-year contract on the urging of manager Manuel Pellegrini, even though the front office reportedly only wished to offer him a one-year deal due to his injury history. Since appearing in 35 games for Arsenal in the 2010/11 campaign – his first full season with a starting role – he has only topped 20 appearances four times and only reached the 25 appearance mark once since 2012/13.

Pellegrini reportedly developed a personal training program for Wilshere that was meant to minimize the risk of injury. “A lot of you will remember Juventus around four or five years ago, they played with one holding midfielder,” Pellegrini said of Wilshere in late August. “It was Pirlo. And Pirlo is the same as Jack. He has the same characteristics as Jack.”

The Hammers are also sweating on a knee injury that forced Marko Arnautovic out of the Everton match in the 64th minute, replaced by Michail Antonio. West Ham next faces Chelsea on Sunday at London Stadium.

Five X-factor Premier League summer signings

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They’ll make differences in their teams for very different reasons.

If the following five players have big seasons, they are talented enough to push their teams multiple spots up the table.

Some could be focal points, while others valuable substitutes but one thing is for sure: their signings slid under the radar given their respective abilities (or in one Fulham man’s case, the lateness of the hour).

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

5. Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 22-year-old’s progression has been infuriating at Schalke, and Palace getting him on a free transfer is a fine risk. Is he the player who scored six Bundesliga goals in 1800 minutes as a teenager, and posted 5G-6A in 2015-16, or the one whose most starts in a single season is 27?

4. Ben Gibson, Burnley — Gibson was very impressive for Middlesbrough in their relegation campaign, and he only shined his stock under defensive wizard Tony Pulis in the Championship. If Burnley makes the Europa League group stage, Gibson will be huge for Dyche.

3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham — Buying Jean Michael Seri was a coup for the midfield, but bringing in a fellow Frenchman to balance out the center of the park? Wow. The 22-year-old is a hard tackling, opportunistic machine who will disrupt the opposition and connect the defense to the forwards. Huge.

2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool — The ability to sub out a winger or midfielder with a player who, on his day, is as lethal as any shooter in the world? Not too bad, Mr. Klopp.

  1. Jack Wilshere, West Ham United — There’s no debating how important Wilshere was to Arsenal when heathy, and his cross-London move could make all the difference in the world as West Ham tries to get the ball to its finishers.