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West Ham signs Nasri on expiration of doping ban

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West Ham has secured the signing of French international Samir Nasri, announcing the deal on Monday, the final day of Nasri’s 18-month doping ban.

Nasri was banned by UEFA in February after receiving an intravenous drip at a Los Angeles clinic. The event was initially discovered after a social media post by the clinic showed Nasri receiving treatment while with Spanish club Sevilla. Nasri’s initial ban was six months, but was increased to 18 months on appeal by UEFA’s ethics and disciplinary inspector. The ban was backdated to to July 1 2017 despite Nasri appearing eight times for Turkish club Antalyaspor since that time.

The 31-year-old links back up with Manuel Pellegrini, Nasri’s manager at Manchester City where the pair won a Premier League title in 2014. “He is a player I obviously know well from our time together at Manchester City and I am happy to be working with him again,” Pellegrini told the official West Ham website.

The club release announcing the signing confirmed that Nasri has trained with West Ham for a number of weeks working his fitness up to playing levels hoping to snag a deal when his doping ban ends.

“He has been working very hard here in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing, and he is now very determined to return to his best,” Pellegrini said.

Nasri said he is excited to return to the Premier League and join West Ham. “You choose a club because of the ambition, and I think that West Ham has everything to be one of the biggest clubs in London, for sure,” Nasri told the official club release. “I mean, 60,000 people every game at home, we play in the Olympic Stadium. The training ground is there and you have owners who want to invest and have a good team. Everything is there to be doing great things.”

Nasri played in London before, suiting up for Arsenal where he spent three seasons before moving to Manchester City in the summer of 2011.

Pellegrini delighted by recent results, Felipe Anderson’s form

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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West Ham United’s 2018-19 Premier League season started just about as poorly — in the face of sky-high expectations — as it could have done.

[ MORE: Felipe Anderson leads West Ham’s comeback against Saints ]

When Manuel Pellegrini was appointed as manager in the summer, West Ham were widely applauded and the club was expected to firmly solidify itself as a perennial top-half, if not top-seven, side. To lose their first four games was rightly dubbed a disaster.

But now, following Thursday’s comeback victory away to Southampton, the Hammers have won five of their last six games and have risen to ninth in the PL table. Pellegrini praised his entire squad after the game, but Felipe Anderson, scorer of both West Ham goals and $48-million man, was singled out for further plaudits after bagging seven goals in eight games — quotes from the BBC:

“December has been a good month for the team, not just for me, for the team. We played a very good game from the beginning. We didn’t allow Southampton to reach our box. We started one goal down but we drew level as soon as we could and then got the second goal.

“I think one of the most important things is that we play the same way away as at home. We try to continue doing our work. The better thing we did was to stop them being near our box.”

Anderson‘s run of goals is important for him and the team. It’s not easy for a midfield player to score so many goals by this stage of the season. He can change the score of the game in any moment.”

“It’s consistency that is important for us. The important thing after our start to the season was to reduce the gap to all the other teams. I think if we continue play this way, we will improve the number of points we can get. With our winning mentality, it’s important to finish as high up the table as we can.”

PL Preview: Fulham v. West Ham

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  • Fulham has won 3 of the last 4 games vs West Ham at home
  • West Ham has not won 4 PL games in a row since 2014
  • Fulham has gone 20 PL games without a clean sheet, conceding 51 goals in that span

Fulham begins a critical four-game stretch, sitting bottom of the Premier League table and needing points as they host West Ham at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Whites’ next four matches see them take on the Hammers, followed by games against Newcastle, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Huddersfield Town. They sit in the basement of the standings, but are just four points from safety. Fulham has secured four points in four matches under new manager Claudio Ranieri, but were also thoroughly beaten by both Chelsea and Manchester United, meaning the games against fellow relegation candidates are becoming more and more critical.

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Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is unavailable after a controversial second yellow card against Manchester United saw him sent for an early shower. Maxime Le Marchand is a big miss for the Whites, out with an undisclosed muscular injury, but that is the extent of their unavailable list as Calum Chambers, Floyd Ayite, Andre Schurrle, and Kevin McDonald are all ready to go, Ranieri confirmed.

Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere will miss his third straight match for West Ham as he recovers from an ankle injury, and Lucas Perez is likely unavailable due to a cut on his foot, but otherwise the Hammers are fully fit as they look for an opportunity to move into the top half of the table.

West Ham was in the bottom third of the table for much of the first few months of the season, but they have climbed to 11th with a run of seven matches that features just one loss. That includes a current three-match winning streak that has seen West Ham drop three relegation candidates in Newcastle, Cardiff City, and Crystal Palace, by a combined 9-3 score. With Fulham up this weekend followed by matches against Watford, Southampton, Burnley, and Brighton, this is the time for the Hammers to pick up a swath of points and brace for a grueling final third of the season.

What they’re saying

Ranieri on Fulham’s lack of a clean sheet this season: “The players are improving a lot with my tactics. It’s normal they need time to understand everything. Sooner or later, we’ll keep a clean sheet – I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”

Pellegrini on playing a team near the bottom: “I said last week, the most stupid thing we can do is to believe that because we are playing against teams near the bottom of the table we will win. We must be very careful, thinking game by game.”

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Prediction

While West Ham is playing well, they will be up against a team that knows this four-game stretch is critical. Still, Fulham’s midfield is a complete mess, and they have lots to work on. The defense is a bad matchup for a Hammers side on a roll in front of net. That run will continue, as West Ham wins 3-1 behind another big attacking performance.

Chicharito scores twice, heats up as West Ham begins nice run of fixtures

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had some kind of day on Saturday at St. James’ Park.

West Ham United’s Mexican forward scored a pair of goals sandwiched around two flubbed, straight-forward chances as the Irons beat Newcastle United 3-0.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 0-3 West Ham ]

Hernandez, 30, made a perfectly-timed run into his office to nod an opener past Martin Dubravka before bursting onto a Marko Arnautovic flick for his second.

That goal was a marvel, the strong El Tri star roasting Fabian Schar before hitting a hard low shot into the goal.

It was a rare start for Hernandez, who said he’s had to relax and wait for his turn atop the attack.

From the BBC:

“I know I am doing well on the training ground. I have been patient. In this world when you have confidence it is easier to perform like I did today. I missed two but we did a good job, my team-mates.

“We have a big squad, with people waiting for an opportunity. We have another opportunity at home next up.”

Here’s Pellegrini:

“We arrive with the World Cup and Javier (Hernandez) was five weeks ill. It is not easy to recover his best moment but he is a scorer. When I start with him today because before that he could not play a complete game. I am happy for him.”

Felipe Anderson also scored for the Irons, who move into 13th place with 15 points. This is part of a promising run of fixtures of Pellegrini’s men, who next host Cardiff City and Crystal Palace before visiting Fulham and returning home for Watford before trips to Southampton and Burnley.

Sane, Man City ease to win at West Ham

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  • City scores twice in first 19 minutes
  • Hosts can’t convert early chances
  • Sane scores two more
  • Unhappy return for Manuel Pellegrini

Leroy Sane scored twice as Manchester City cruised past West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday, moving to 35 points with a 4-0 win on Saturday.

David Silva and Raheem Sterling also scored for City, while West Ham remains 13th with 12 points.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini did not enjoy his reunion with a club that loves him, seeing few chances after an early flurry from the hosts.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

It was clear that Manuel Pellegrini was playing to attack Fabian Delph at left back, especially on the counter, as Benjamin Mendy‘s absence loomed over the City XI.

And while there were moments in the first few minutes for the Irons, Silva and Sterling scored from within six yards in the 11th and 19th minutes, respectively.

For as good as City was early, it needed a pair of fine saves by Ederson to keep the sheet clean. Marko Arnautovic saw his shot through traffic thwarted by a diving keeper, and Ederson made it two-straight saves when Arnautovic slipped Michail Antonio into the right of the box.

City made it 3-0 with another well-worked team goal — won’t Pep be proud? — as Sane was on the business end of another deconstruction of West Ham’s back line.

Arnautovic was fortunate to remain in the game when his clumsy challenge landed on top of Delph’s planted ankle.

Sane added a fourth goal in stoppage time, as City and West Ham really just passed most of the second half for time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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