Manuel Lanzini

West Ham hands Watford another home loss as record-signing Haller shines

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West Ham United’s record signing has manager Manuel Pellegrini feeling great and Watford boss Javi Gracia looking over his shoulder.

The Irons took care of Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, with Sebastien Haller having a role in all three goals during a brace-bagging performance.

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Watford falls to 0-3, high hopes sincerely grounded having lost to Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, and now West Ham. Two of those losses came at home, a year after the Hornets remarkable 2018-19 season ended with eight losses at Vicarage Road.

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Three things we learned

1. Seb’s star show: West Ham United fans will be watching their big center forward closely this season as the club hopes it has its long-sought answer to the center forward position. Haller’s sensational pass helped the Irons earn a third-minute penalty, and he raced to the doorstep to deposit Felipe Anderson‘s second-half cross. After 15 goals and nine assists for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Haller is every bit the multi-faceted playmaker required for the position. Will he be able to keep it up.

2. Don’t forget Felipe: West Ham’s transfer record holder prior to Haller’s arrival was as electric as ever. The Irons holding onto him this summer may’ve had a little bit of luck involved, but it was also a stroke of genius.

3. Will Hughes the silver blonde lining: The 24-year-old midfielder was very decent in defeat, getting an assist on Andre Gray‘s clinical equalizer before it all went back to poor form for the Hornets.

Man of the match: Haller


Noble’s penalty came after a clearly-fouled Manuel Lanzini launched himself into the air for what was a stonewall foul.

Gerard Deulofeu smashed a shot off the cross bar in the 7th minute after a terrific cross-18 through ball.

West Ham looked wide open in the midfield and allowed Hughes to show a bit of wizardry in cueing up Gray for his well-taken goal.

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The teams continued to battle well for the points in entertaining fashion, and it was West Ham’s all-time transfer buys who delivered the winner.

Anderson‘s cross through traffic met Haller at the back post for a hopeful winner, and Haller later made it two.

Lanzini tears ACL, out of the World Cup

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Manuel Lanzini‘s World Cup dream was brutally vanquished on Friday after suffering a serious injury.

The Argentine National Team announced that Lanzini tore the ACL in his right knee, effectively ruling him out of the World Cup as well as a majority of the upcoming Premier League season for West Ham. It’s a tough blow for Lanzini, who at 25-years of age was set to make his World Cup debut this summer.

Instead, Lanzini will have to watch with millions of others from home.

The Argentine playmaker’s loss will be felt more for West Ham than Argentina, which has an embarrassment of riches in attack.

Lanzini scored five goals and assisted on six others in 27 Premier League matches last season as West Ham managed to stave off relegation, but under fellow South American Manuel Pellegrini, Lanzini could have taken his game to a new level, feeling more comfortable in a familiar style of play.

Still, the Argentine playmaker was making a name for himself within the national team, and a goal vs. Italy in a friendly match in Manchester may have even pushed him into consideration for the starting XI. Now, he’ll be on the mend for six to nine months, recovering from a serious injury.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Messi, Aguero, Lanzini headline foreign-based Argentine squad for friendlies

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Seven Premier League players, headlined by the in-form Sergio Aguero, were called up by Argentina National Team coach Jorge Sampaoli for upcoming friendlies later this month against Spain and Italy.

Sampaoli announced the selection of the foreign-based Argentine squad, including Aguero and his Man City teammate Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo, West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini, Chelsea goalkeeper Wily Caballero and Everton centerback Ramiro Funes Mori.

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Argentina faces Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on March 23 and then heads to Spain to take on La Roja at the Wando Metropolitano on March 27.

The squad is a sneak peak at what Sampaoli may be looking at ahead of the 2018 World Cup. With Aguero’s form, he could start alongside Messi up top. Sampaoli will have a big decision to make though in net, with two club backups in Romero and Caballero in pole position to start.

Lanzini charged by FA for fooling ref with dive

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Manuel Lanzini dove to earn a penalty in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365 Stadium, and he may pay for it.

Lanzini, who also posted an assist in an influential performance, drew the penalty converted by Mark Noble when he hit the deck under minimal contact from Erik Pieters.

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He could miss two matches for “successful deception of a match official,” the same penalty given to Everton’s Oumar Niasse for a similar offense.

West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.