Fornals can step in for Anderson

Image for Fornals can step in for Anderson


On the list of things West Ham fans didn’t want to see in their Premier League curtain-raiser, you can rest assured that losing their star man to injury probably came somewhere just beneath getting walloped 5-0.

Unfortunately for the Hammers, they had to endure both.

As well as being taught a masterclass in attacking football by a rampant Manchester City, they had to watch on helplessly as Brazilian trickster Felipe Anderson hobbled off with a thigh problem, as reported by Football.London.

In fairness to the 26-year-old, he did want to continue after receiving treatment, but manager Manuel Pellegrini saw fit to pick his battles, and decided to bring on Javier Hernandez in his place.

Now, as far as Saturday’s clash with Brighton is concerned, it’s not immediately clear as to whether Anderson will feature or not.

The South American has posted an update to his social media, as reported by Football.London, in which he can be seen riding an exercise bike at Rush Green, but there is still no confirmation from the club as to whether or not he will feature.

And journalist Sam Inkersole is of the opinion that his absence would be a significant blow for the Hammers.

Writing in a piece for Football.London, he said: “A lot depends on the fitness of Felipe Anderson this weekend.”

In some respects, he is correct. Anderson is the Hammers’ most obviously gifted attacking player, and it never hurts to have a talent like his on the field, capable of producing moments of magic that can win or rescue games at the drop of a hat.

But if Anderson is to miss out, the Irons shouldn’t be too worried.

For the first time in a long time, they have the strength and depth to handle this kind of issue, and in Pablo Fornals, they have a ready made replacement waiting in the wings.

The Spaniard started the game against City on the bench, but it is surely only a matter of time before he gets the nod from the first whistle, and when he does, expect fireworks.

The 23-year-old had a scintillating U21s European Championships over the summer, registering a pass success rate of 88.1%, 2.4 shots per game, 1.8 key passes, and 1.2 successful dribbles per match too, as per Whoscored.

If that is any indication of what he is capable of, which it should be, then expect him to be ripping up the Premier League sooner rather than later.

If that means he has to fill in on Saturday for an absent Anderson, then so be it.

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