West Ham have Manuel Lanzini back to his best

West Ham got the new year of to a flying start with a 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace. Despite a nervous second half, the first 45 minutes was a great performance.

Manuel Lanzini was at the heart of it once again in a London derby scoring a beautiful goal and then converting a penalty that put David Moyes‘ side up 3-0 at half time.

After injury issues and spending much time out the side, it’s great to see Lanzini perform consistently again.

West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini is performing to his best and is back in the starting lineup again after a long spell out the team.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United celebrates with teammate Declan Rice after scoring their side’s third goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on January 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

The Argentinian was signed by former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic for around £8-10 million after a successful loan at the club in 2015/16. He was fantastic in first few years becoming a fan’s favourite.

However, while training with the Argentinian national team ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2018, Lanzini ruptured his cruciate ligament. He was out for nearly a year and when he came back he just wasn’t the same.

Under Manuel Pellegrini, Lanzini scored just one Premier League goal and was used rarely last season by Moyes despite his famous goal in the 3-3 draw to Spurs.

But now ‘The Jewel’ is back to his best, when West Ham need him with Said Benrahma heading to the AFCON (it’s also time for Nikola Vlasic).

He was lively off the bench a number of times and in cup matches fighting for his place in the starting XI and rightly so he got his chance in the victory over Chelsea. He was outstanding as were West Ham.

The 28-year-old is a skilful and elegant player with an eye for a spectacular goal and pass as shown versus Crystal Palace. The touch, technique and finish was sublime as the Hammers doubled their lead – it was a typical Lanzini goal (he only scores good ones).

Notably, he is also working so much harder off the ball than ever before and is no longer a player only useful when his team have possession. Last season, when Declan Rice was out, he was even used as a deep lying midfield player. He has the trust of Moyes who is getting the best from him.

No fans would doubt his quality but few would have thought there would be a resurgence in form. It’s great to have the man who has scored 52% of his Premier League goals in London derbies playing better than he ever has done before. It’s even better to know Lanzini “feels important again” as he said via an Instagram post.