The feeling of discontent which characterised the early stages of Manuel Pellegrini’s reign at West Ham United has been firmly eradicated since the international break.
The script didn’t exactly go according to plan in the first four fixtures of the season as the Hammers fell to four straight defeats, but a rejuvenated squad have recovered brilliantly by taking 7 points from three fixtures since they returned from the international break.
An away win at Everton has been backed up with 4 excellent points at home to Chelsea and Manchester United, and their latest victory over the Red Devils has installed a new found sense of belief into the club.
The London Stadium may not be the intimidating fortress which the supporters desire it to be but, with a man of Marko Arnautovic’s aura spearheading the attack, they have a player who can inject electricity into proceedings and provide the supporters with something to genuinely shout about.
Indeed, Arnautovic (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) has been West Ham’s star player for the best part of a year and he continued to lead the line with the strength of an ox and the twinkled-toed guile of a ballerina on Saturday lunchtime.
The Austria international was a menace to United’s defensive unit all afternoon and his performance was duly noted by a gushing Garth Crooks.
In his weekly BBC column detailing his team of the week, Crooks drew parallels between Arnautovic and Eric Cantona: ‘There is something of Eric Cantona about Marko Arnautovic – but without the intimidating stare. The only other difference between these two mercurial characters is that one played for Manchester United and the other should have done.’
His admission that Arnautovic should have played for Manchester United is perhaps doing the deadly attacker something of a disservice after their capitulation against the Hammers.
Arnautovic is arriving at the pinnacle of his career which, of course, is excellent for West Ham, but his form will raise questions about the true extent of his ability and whether a move to a top-four club could be on the cards in the not too distant future.
The 29-year-old forward deserves the plaudits which have been thrown in his direction since he bossed Man United on Saturday afternoon, but for how much longer can Europe’s biggest clubs ignore his consistently outstanding performances which earn him praise of such high esteem?
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