Manuel Lanzini’s rich vein of form is a major boost to West Ham’s chances of achieving Champions League qualification
Manuel Lanzini’s rich vein of form is a major boost to West Ham’s chances of achieving Champions League qualification

West Ham have returned to winning ways — and Manuel Lanzini has been central to their revival.

The midfielder continued his resurgence by opening the scoring in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Leeds last Sunday.

Lanzini, 28, also played a key role as David Moyes’ side recorded back-to-back Premier League wins against Watford and Crystal Palace, keeping them well in the race for the top four.

Ahead of tonight’s meeting with struggling Norwich at the London Stadium, we assess how the Argentine could help propel the Hammers to Champions League qualification come May.

Back in action

Across West Ham’s first 11 league games of the campaign, Lanzini saw less than an hour of action — not making a single start and not even getting off the bench in six of those fixtures.

But the has featured in all nine matches since, starting five of the last six and making himself one of the first names on Moyes’ team sheet.

And with three goals in his last two outings — the standout of which was a wonderful individual effort in the 3-2 triumph at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day — he is going to take some dislodging.

Keeping things ticking

Lanzini is an attacking midfielder — he aptly wears the No10 shirt — and has generally lined up behind Michail Antonio in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

However, he has often taken on a more withdrawn role, dropping deep to receive the ball and providing a metronomic presence.

No West Ham player has attempted (61.02) or completed (56.58) more passes per 90 minutes than Lanzini — who also has a passing accuracy of almost 90% when playing balls into the final third.

Manuel Lanzini's heat map reflects a player who has often operated in a deeper role this season
Manuel Lanzini's heat map reflects a player who has often operated in a deeper role this season

Promising signs

With three goals at a rate of one every 146.75 minutes, Lanzini is West Ham's most frequent league scorer this term.

Whether he can sustain that remains to be seen — he has only played 587 Premier League minutes this campaign — but the Argentina international has certainly seized his chance. 

And if he continues to do so, West Ham will continue to reap the rewards.

Speaking of chances, he creates plenty of them — 12 at a team-high rate of 1.84 per 90, to be precise.

West Ham star Manuel Lanzini has created a number of chances for his team-mates from just outside the penalty area
West Ham star Manuel Lanzini has created a number of chances for his team-mates from just outside the penalty area

Moments of magic

West Ham have several players capable of casting a spell but Lanzini is their magician-in-chief. Indeed, he is known as 'the jewel' for his dazzling exploits.

With that aforementioned strike at Selhurst Park, he reminded Hammers fans of his ability to make their jaws drop.

The Buenos Aires native bamboozled a cluster of Palace defenders with some fast footwork before smashing the ball past goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

That was from close range but he is also capable of a screamer — as highlighted by his stunning rocket of a stoppage-time equaliser away to Tottenham last season.

Manuel Lanzini has two Premier League goals from open play this term
Manuel Lanzini has two Premier League goals from open play this term

A special connection

Before this season, Lanzini had endured an injury-afflicted few years and he admitted last month that he was not sure whether he would be the same player again.

He said: "There’s always that fear as to whether you will come back the same or not."

However, he has made it clear he could not be happier at West Ham. He added: "I’ve been at this club for many years, it’s honestly been incredible.

"I never would have imagined this because it’s difficult to maintain this level.

"I love the club, I love the people, I love this city, I love everything.

"I feel comfortable. And when you feel comfortable somewhere, you want to stay. So that’s how I feel."

With a string of winnable fixtures on the horizon, starting with tonight's visit of Norwich, Lanzini could be set for more success in the coming weeks.

Tags

West Ham UnitedPremier LeagueChampions League

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