Felipe Anderson is one of the most polarizing players among the West Ham community due to his tantalizing talent but his time at Lazio and Santos offers an excellent glimpse into the lack of consistency that has defined his career.
It’s impossible to think of the Brazilian’s time at the club without remembering the wonderful, glorious period in time of November and December 2018. After a woeful start to his career at West Ham, Felipe Anderson was borderline unplayable for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
He finally broke out with a two-goal performance against Burnley at the beginning of November and over the next two months, Anderson fired the side to six wins in ten matches. With seven goals during that stretch, it looked the club had finally got it right with a record signing.
But looking back, that period in time seems like a mirage compared to what has transpired since. The Brazilian would only find the back of the net once more in his final seventeen games of the 2018-2019 Premier League campaign.
That season seems absolutely brilliant compared to Anderson’s 2019/2020 where he managed only one goal and 4 assists in twenty-seven appearances for West Ham and looked absolutely afraid to take on defenders or to try a risky pass.
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Obviously, the Brazilian is a supremely talented player and if he could get going anywhere close to the level that he attained in November and December 2018 then he would be the most dangerous player in the Hammer’s squad.
But I do think it’s time to start being realistic and recognize that there is a massive gap between the player Anderson is capable of being and the player that most often show up on the pitch.
It’s easy to state that too much has been required of him defensively because of the left-back situation, that managers haven’t utilized his skills properly or that the demanding physicality of the Premier League has been a tough adjustment.
But Anderson simply hasn’t been getting it done for West Ham, and the player suffered from the same disappearing acts during his time at Italian giants Lazio and back home at Santos.
According to Calciomercatio.com when discussing ‘What West Ham fans can expect as Felipe Anderson nears Premier League move,’ “The major knock against Anderson has been his inconsistency throughout his time at Lazio.”
Football-Italia.net painted a similar picture of the Brazilian during an in-depth analysis of his playback in 2017: “Felipe Anderson’s Lazio career has been the picture of inconsistency since his breakout season two years ago.”
Football-Italia.net adds that coming off a brilliant 2014/2015 campaign the player was given Lazio’s esteemed number 10 jersey, but “with expectation at its highest, Felipe Anderson failed to replicate his form.” Sound Familiar West Ham supporters?
Another ESPN article from February 2018 is simply titled ‘Felipe Anderson on form at Lazio, but how long will it last?’ There is a reference to his time at Santos, where he “couldn’t keep up solid performances on constant basis” and spent “a lot of time on the bench because the coaches couldn’t really trust him.”
On his day Anderson has the ability to be an absolute game-changer for West Ham. But I think it’s a bit naive to think that the player will suddenly overcome the consistency issues that have plagued him throughout his entire career.
There’s no doubting that the Brazilian may be the most technically gifted player on the Hammer’s books. But if we only see that ability during increasingly distant stretches then how useful can he truly be to a squad that is determined to finally achieve some Premier League consistency?