The return to form and fitness of West Ham United winger Andriy Yarmolenko has been one of the stories of the season so far in the Premier League.
The tale only strengthened on Monday night when he scored what turned out to be the winning goal in Ukraine’s 2-1 victory over European champions Portugal, sweeping home from close range and outshining Cristiano Ronaldo’s 700th career goal.
The former Borussia Dortmund man’s progress hasn’t gone unnoticed, with journalist Sam Inkersole writing on the Football London website on Tuesday that his play this campaign has been an ‘enormous bonus’.
That’s underselling things a little bit, to be honest, and Inkersole is absolutely right to drool over Yarmolenko’s form. The 29-year-old has been nothing short of spectacular for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
With neither Manuel Lanzini nor Felipe Anderson reaching top form as of yet, and with summer signing Pablo Fornals still adapting to English football, Yarmolenko has suddenly become key to West Ham’s success this season.
That’s a big statement, but the statistics bear it out. As per WhoScored.com, the Ukrainian has three goals in six Premier League games this term.
Furthermore, his averages of 1.6 shots and 1.3 key passes per game show that he is heavily involved in the Hammers’ attacking play. He is clearly a very accurate shooter, making the most of the majority of his attempts.
He doesn’t actually dribble that much for a winger, just 0.6 times a game on average, but that’s because he does his best work in the penalty area. Yarmolenko is a goalscoring winger, that’s his primary focus, and he’s extremely good at it.
With his teammates continuing to struggle, he’s going to have to keep up this level of form over the festive period. Based on what we’ve seen so far, that shouldn’t be a problem.