West Ham supporters have been pretty quiet in recent times after seeing their team struggle through the festive period in the Premier League.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were one of the form teams in the division at the start of December with four straight victories, only for their momentum to be somewhat stunted with only one win from their remaining three matches of 2018. The Hammers lost out at the hands of Watford and Burnley but did beat Southampton in between, before starting 2019 with a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton on Wednesday, with a Marko Arnautovic brace inspiring the hosts to come from 2-0 down to earn a valuable point.
As such, there have been many satisfied West Ham fans up and down the country in recent times, with Arnautovic the man to thank for his second half brace against the Seagulls on Wednesday night, thus taking his tally to seven goals for the season.
And it was former boss Slaven Bilic who sealed a £20.07 million deal (as per Transfermarkt) for the Austria international in the summer of 2017, with it thus clear that current boss Pellegrini has the Croat to thank for equipping him with a West Ham gem.
Ultimately, 29-year-old Arnautovic didn’t make a particularly solid start to life at the London Stadium in struggling to force his way into Bilic’s first team in the first few months, with it needing David Moyes’ introduction back in November 2017 to really get the best out of the forward.
And what a season he then went on to produce with a staggering 11 goals and six assists in just 31 Premier League appearances for the Hammers, including match-winning strikes against the likes of Chelsea, Southampton, and Everton on the final day to eventually inspire the East London club to a 13th place finish in the Premier League table.
Arguably, were it not for Arnautovic’s efforts following Moyes’ arrival, the Hammers could have been in serious trouble come the end of the campaign, and the Austrian has continued that form into this season under the stewardship of new boss Pellegrini.
The forward, who made his name in English football with Stoke City between 2013 and 2017, has bagged seven goals and laid on two assists in 15 league appearances for the Hammers this season to help them to tenth place under Pellegrini, with Felipe Anderson (eight) the only man to have netted more than Arnautovic so far this season.
Clearly then, the 29-year-old looks set for yet another pivotal role in whatever success West Ham have this term, as proven on Wednesday night when the Hammers looked certain for defeat against Chris Hughton’s Brighton, only for Arnautovic to step up and net twice to earn a point – he has that in his locker.
And Pellegrini has former boss Bilic to thank, even if the latter couldn’t get the best out of him, for equipping him with the Austrian star, who is very much proving to be a West Ham gem.
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