Manuel Lanzini is West Ham’s unsung defensive hero

Manuel Lanzini has started his West Ham career in impressive form.

Lanzini arrived on loan at West Ham from Al Jazira Club over the summer, and he has started his career with the Hammers in impressive form.

Despite doubts over his suitability to the Premier League when he arrived at the Boleyn Ground, Lanzini has established himself in Slaven Bilic’s starting XI with ease, making six league appearances.

The 22-year-old has shown himself to be a key creative force, and his precise passing and vision have proved to be perfect foil alongside his attacking teammates Dimitri Payet and Victor Moses.

However, whilst there were no doubts about his skill in the final third, Lanzini has easily removed any questions concerning his physicality and suitability in the Premier League, becoming a key defensive component in Bilic’s tactical set-up.

Bilic wants his attacking players pressing from the front, and Lanzini is the player who has brought into philosophy this the most of all the offensive stars.

He is one of the best performing defensive players in the first-team, with only actual defenders beating him out statistically. The youngster completes 1.7 tackles per game and 1.3 interceptions per game, whilst also being precise with his tackles and not committing many fouls.

He is always pressing the opposition defenders, and despite his slight frame and apparent lack of physicality, he matches up well in battles - having been dispossessed just 0.7 times per game.

Lanzini has proved all doubters wrong this season, and although his main strengths have been as an attacking player, it has been the Argentine’s defensive work which has made him an unsung hero behind West Ham’s early season success.

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