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).
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.
- Irons won 3-1 at Goodison Park
- 9th, 11th place sides separated by 2 points
- Everton dominates all-time series 69W-31D-39L
West Ham United and Everton can still rescue European treasure from their disappointing seasons, and will meet Saturday at the London Stadium (Watch live at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The host Irons have won three-straight at home, and can move into seventh place with a win and help from hosts Manchester United versus Watford and desperate Burnley versus Wolves.
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Everton can climb over West Ham with an away win on Saturday.
Both sides have been inconsistent, both over long stretches and of course over a single game. Everton rebounded from a loss to Newcastle to blank Chelsea, while West Ham came back from a 3-0 deficit in its last Premier League outing to beat Huddersfield Town 4-3.
What they’re saying
West Ham’s Manuel Pellegrini on winning at home: “Fans were enjoying the game, they were all involved, supporting the team and not thinking or talking or acting like what happened last season. [The atmosphere] depends on the performance of the team, that’s why it was so important to win those three games in a row, and now it’s more important to win the fourth game.”
Everton’s Michael Keane on finding his groove: “I’ve always had the belief in myself but when things aren’t going well for you on the pitch you sort of lose a bit of confidence. But I’ve always had the belief that I’m good enough to play at Everton. It’s obviously a top-class club and you have to play well week in week out to prove that to the fans and to people at the Club and I think I’ve managed to do that this season.”
This is a difficult one to figure, with both teams having a bevy of players coming off international breaks and neither being particularly predictable in the first place. We expect goals, and we’ll call it 2-2.
Manuel Pellegrini both enjoyed and disliked his return to the Etihad Stadium.
[ RECAP: Man City 1-0 West Ham ]
The West Ham United manager is perhaps better known as man who guided Manchester City to the 2013-14 Premier League title and a pair of League Cups.
On Wednesday, he returned to his former haunt for the first time as an opposing manager. His Irons lost 1-0 on a controversial penalty awarded to Bernardo Silva, but the Etihad celebrated its “Charming Man.”
“I’m very happy with how the City fans received me. I’m very pleased with what they said. I’m not happy with the result because it was not a penalty. Bernardo Silva threw himself down when he felt a touch. Lanzini had the same thing but didn’t go down, so the referee didn’t whistle.”
Bernardo hit a crowd of men and it was hard to tell whether it was a foul that sent him to the turf, but City was otherwise good value for its slim win. And it’s nice that Pellegrini remains a key figure in City history despite the club’s decision to have him leave in favor of some guy named Pep Guardiola.
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.