The Jewel is back on track to regain his shine in West Ham’s crown

It felt like Manuel Lanzini’s best days were behind him but we’re all enjoying the second coming

Manuel Lanzini (WHU) Takehiro Tomiyasu (A) at the Arsenal v West Ham United EPL match, at the Emirates Stadium, London, UK on 11th December, 2021.

After a career-threatening injury in June 2018, Manuel Lanzini struggled to fully recover and seemed destined to play a bit-part role at West Ham.

But a recent surge in form, including a tremendous show against Crystal Palace, has us hoping for a second glimpse at greatness from the 28-year-old.

Recent games provided an opportunity to watch this prolific and talented footballer back at work.

It’s been a welcome sight for fans who could be forgiven for thinking that Lanzini’s career wouldn’t reclimb to the heady heights he’d hit prior the injury sustained while on International duty. 

It’s taken over three years for ‘The Jewel’ to return to its former shine on West Ham’s crown; but his return to form has surely been worth the wait. 

Lanzini didn’t get off to a quick start this season, and he never seemed to get a full 90 minutes to play with, snatching just a handful of minutes here and there.

In mid-November, Lanzini’s minutes tally improved, and he bagged his first Premier League goal of the 2021/22 season as a result, against Manchester City in a 2-1 loss. 

He didn’t have to wait long for another chance to get on both the team sheet and the score sheet just one week later against Chelsea. 

He delighted fans in this match – not just for scoring a penalty in a London derby against West Ham’s competition for the Premier League title, but also for his ice cold death stare towards (and since we’re being honest, shove on) Chelsea defender Reece James after James screamed at him in an attempt to distract Lanzini as he went to take the penalty. 

Everything was coming up Manu, but the goals didn’t keep coming and the minutes dried up until hard work as a substitute and fate in the form of the ongoing pandemic threw him a lifeline in claret and blue. 

After Pablo Fornals tested positive for COVID, Lanzini came straight back into the starting line up against Watford in West Ham’s final Premier League fixture of 2021. 

Lanzini played a strong game and was unlucky not to be one of the few players who didn’t get a goal or an assist in the 4-1 win for the Hammers.

The continued positive result to Fornals again proved to be a positive result for Manuel Lanzini against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day as the Argentine played nearly 90 minutes and delivered one of the best performances of his career – not only scoring two goals but hopefully also putting the ghost of his injury to bed once and for all. 

Lanzini’s first goal was an unstoppable thunderbolt and the second a calm penalty. Truth be told, he was unlucky not to get a hat-trick for his efforts, but he never stopped trying and was electric and energetic both on and off the ball. 

At the time of writing, Lanzini’s 2021/22 season has seen him contribute four goals and one assist in the Premier League. 

It’s been a strong return to form, but it’s also clear he hasn’t been put back into the same role he left. 

Under the recent direction of Moyes, it’s been interesting also to see him sit deeper in the team, and play an organising playmaker role that really seems to suit him. 

There’s still some work to be done between him and Declan Rice in terms of responsibility and roles, but the ability to play out from the back seems to suit Lanzini post-injury.

He also seems happy with his lot at West Ham at the moment, telling whufc.com: ‘It makes me really happy and really proud to know I’ve spent all these years here in the Premier League at this Club. 

‘It’s tough for players who come from abroad as the Premier League is the best in the world – many people say this about the intensity of games. I don’t know exactly how many seasons it is now, I hope I can go on to enjoy many more seasons at the Club.’

In his sixth season as a Hammer, and with the role he’s playing and the performances he’s delivering, it’s working for Manu and working for West Ham United. 

It’s a joy to watch him play such fluid and positive football – and you never want to see a hard-working, affable and likeable player hang up their boots prematurely. 

Manuel Lanzini’s had a lot of work to do to recover from his significant ACL injury – but The Jewel is firmly back on track to regain his shine.

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