West Ham United have, by and large, enjoyed a fine start to the season. However, there is certainly still room to improve for some players.
One of the most talented – but maddening at times – players in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad is former Lazio playmaker Felipe Anderson. One of the stars of last season, the Brazilian has failed to hit the same spectacular heights this time round.
It’s no surprise, then, to see journalist Sam Inkersole call on him to improve on Monday. He wrote on the Football London website that: “If the club wants to finish in the European places this season then they need more from their Samba Star, as one goal in 23 won’t cut it.”
Yep, one goal in 23 games for Anderson. With that said, Inkersole has hit the nail on the head here. The 26-year-old has been underperforming for a while now, and he needs to improve if the Hammers are to take the next step.
While goals aren’t everything, there is evidence that Anderson isn’t quite performing at the same high level as he was last term. It’s early days, of course, but it’s about time he stepped up to the plate.
As per WhoScored.com, the winger is averaging fewer key passes, while he’s being dispossessed more often this time round. Meanwhile, he hasn’t scored in the Premier League this campaign, and so he’s going to have get going quickly if he is to match or improve his nine league strikes from last season.
However, there have been some positive signs, even if the cutting edge clearly isn’t quite there for him at the moment. Anderson is averaging more shots and dribbles per game, while he is having far fewer unsuccessful touches. Meanwhile, his average WhoScored rating per outing of 7.53 is up from 7.23 last term.
Yet more is needed. He does need to affect games more, and Saturday’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace was one where someone with his talent should have taken it by the scruff of the neck. He didn’t do that, and that’s where he needs to improve.