West Ham should give Felipe Anderson a free role to get the best out of him

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Despite West Ham starting the season positively Felipe Anderson has come under fire from some fans recently, but there could be a solution available to bring the best out of him.

On the chalkboard

The Brazilian was described by Jamie Carragher as the Hammers’ best player on Sky Sports’ coverage of West Ham vs Crystal Palace, and if Manuel Pellegrini can get him playing at his best on a consistent basis – such as when he scored four Premier League goals in December 2018 – then his side could challenge in the upper echelons of the league.

In the current set-up he often fails to support Sebastien Haller because he plays wide and is burdened with defensive responsibility, but if the Chilean can find a way to free him up then his best performances should begin to show.

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So far this season he is yet to get on the scoresheet and has instead been part of a midfield that has been accused of not providing service to Haller, which is a reason why the Hammers have scored only 11 goals in eight league games.

However, since Pellegrini is a manager who hasn’t mixed up his preferred formation since arriving in east London, it is instead personnel that will need altering, and that means players such as Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals could drop out, but with a combined total of three goals and assists between them, that may be another positive.

Free role

With that under consideration, Pellegrini should revert back to a successful system he sometimes utilised during his spell as manager of Manchester City, playing two deep centre midfielders with two wide players in front of them, and two strikers looking to feed off them.

West Ham have the personnel to succeed with that style and once Michail Antonio returns the Irons boss should look to implement it.

With him and Andriy Yarmolenko on either wing the Hammers would have a goalscoring threat from out wide, but perhaps more importantly, it would allow Anderson to float in the position in and around Haller, linking up with the striker and roaming out wide when necessary.

Where will West Ham finish this season?

Top 4

Top 4

Top 6

Top 6

Top 8

Top 8

Below Top 8

Below Top 8

His dribbling success of 2.3 per game shows he has an ability to receive the ball and play on the turn, allowing him to run at the opposition, and if he takes up various positions around the pitch and becomes difficult to track, then he should have joy in the opposition’s final third.

If he can improve his shooting he could provide a threat from distance and add an unpredictable nature to his game, as his average of 1.7 key passes per game shows he can create chances for Haller too.

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