Journalist Sam Truelove has claimed that it would be ‘hard to argue’ against West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini dropping Felipe Anderson.
The Brazilian played just over an hour for the Hammers in their 1-1 draw with Sheffield United on Saturday, but Truelove clearly wasn’t impressed by his efforts.
“It is clear the Brazilian is lacking in confidence and it’s hard to argue against dropping him for next Saturday’s vital clash with Newcastle,” he wrote on the Football London website.
“He did produce one moment of magic in the first half when he received the ball on the touchline, skipping past three challenges before curling an effort just over the bar. But apart from that he was more or less non-existent. The attacking midfielder did find himself in promising positions but he was often too slow in releasing the ball and failed to pick the right pass. Will he play next week? We will have to see.”
This seems a bit harsh based purely on Saturday’s game. Yes, Anderson hasn’t managed to find the same cutting edge in front of goal as he did last season, but he did just fine against the Blades. The statistics show that the former Lazio man was actually fairly decent at the London Stadium. As per WhoScored.com, the 26-year-old had two shots, one of them on target, as well as producing three dribbles and drawing a foul. He also knocked three long balls forward, with all three of them finding their intended target. So while he wasn’t sensational, he wasn’t as bad as Truelove suggests. The problem he had on Saturday was that his fellow attacking midfielders Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko played so well, making Anderson the obvious man to be replaced around the hour mark. However, his replacement Manuel Lanzini did next to nothing, while fellow substitute Pablo Fornals was ineffectual too. So who should come in for Anderson next week, exactly?