Whilst the Hammers have been waiting for Manuel Lanzini’s return from injury for a long time, it’s not good news for everyone that he’s back. The Hammers’ star is one of the best in the Premier League outside of the top six, and his fitness is a huge boost, yet his return will be a hindrance on Robert Snodgrass, who will surely be set to lose out.
Snodgrass has been a key figure under Manuel Pellegrini this season in the Premier League for the Stratford club and the Irons have appreciated his efforts greatly. However, the Scottish international, who was labelled ‘not exactly a triumph’ by Hammers’ boss Karren Brady in her column in The Sun after his first year at the club, has stepped up to the plate this season and looked a new player.
His performances have come in for a lot of praise from the West Ham fans and it’s not hard to see why. At the age of 31, the attacking midfielder may be showing signs of losing his legs but he’s certainly not losing his quality of delivery. Set pieces as the Scotsman’s forte and he’s been quality on free-kicks and corners for the Irons this season.
Despite all of that, there is simply no leaving a fully fit Lanzini out of this West Ham side. The idea of having Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Samir Nasri all probing and going forward is one that will have West Ham fans drooling, but in that four there’s no room for Snodgrass. It will be a tough call to make, but with Lanzini the more talented and younger of the two, his return means bad things for Snodgrass.
It started in the Hammers last game against Manchester City. Both Lanzini and Snodgrass found themselves occupying spots on the bench. The Scottish midfielder had only previously missed one game before their midweek clash with City, and even that was due to suspension, yet when Pellegrini looked to his subs it came as no shock when he called upon the Argentine, leaving Snodgrass as an unused sub.
It will take some serious graft from the Irons’ creative Scottish maestro if he is to somehow usurp Lanzini as the club’s go-to man when they need a creative spark. In truth, it’s something that simply won’t happen, and whilst he provides an excellent option off the bench as a utility man who can slot in anywhere in attack, his game time will dwindle over the next few months now Lanzini has returned.