Jamie Carragher has admitted he expects West Ham United to be challenging for a top-six place in the Premier League this season under Manuel Pellegrini.
Carragher picked out Felipe Anderson as a player who could comfortably play for one of the top-four sides in the Premier League, and even the Champions League.
Speaking on Sky Sports before Monday’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa, as quoted by Football.London, Carragher admitted he has been impressed with the way the Hammers have played since the opening day defeat to Manchester City.
“There are three teams we seem to talk about a lot, can they break into the top six? It’s Wolves, Everton and Leicester, we never really mention West Ham too much and both of us before the season never mentioned them,” he said.
“But when you actually see the names and you look at the signings, Haller at £45m on a striker is big money, then you’ve got someone like Felipe Anderson who I think could play for one of the top-four teams and in the Champions League.”
“Yarmolenko didn’t play much last year, Lanzini didn’t play much last year, these are real quality players. Fabianski is a really good goalkeeper and there’s no doubt they’ll have ambitions within the club.”
“But they should be when you consider the money that has been spent and some of the players that they have. I have been impressed by them, since the City defeat they’ve looked quite good.”
The way West Ham battled to a 0-0 draw against Villa with 10 men highlighted how Pellegrini has found a new determination in his squad, who could have easily have folded and lost the game – a characteristic that will serve them well in the hunt for European football. The Hammers had their chances to win it and probably should have with the number of counter-attacks they had in the final 10 minutes. The club-record signing of Haller definitely signalled the club’s intent this season, and with players such as Lanzini and Anderson in behind the Frenchman, West Ham look a completely different animal. The Brazilian has been particularly impressive since joining from Lazio at the beginning of last season, with the £85,000-a-week ace [Spotrac] being one of their main threats on the ball. The 26-year-old has yet to open his account this campaign, but a goal shouldn’t be far away with the way he has started – averaging two shots on goal per game so far according to WhoScored. The South American has also completed an average of 2.8 dribbles, highlighting his danger for opposing defences in the final third. Anderson is definitely capable of playing in the top four of the Premier League, but he will have hopes of doing just that with the Hammers.