Felipe Anderson arrived in the Premier League this summer looking like a typical number ten.
With Manuel Pellegrini looking set to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation, West Ham record signing Anderson was in pole position to be number 10.
So when Pellegrini unveiled a more robust 4-3-3 at Everton earlier this month, it posed a question for Anderson.
Where would he fit in? Perhaps more specifically, does he have the workrate to play in a wide role? On Saturday, Anderson faced Anthony Martial, one of many top flight widemen whose defensive diligence has been questioned in the past.
In that 3-1 win at Goodison Park, he provided a good early answer. His attitude was outstanding, which allowed him to influence proceedings at both ends from his new left-wing position.
Against Manchester United on Saturday, he proved that was no one-off. He again contributed defensively and offensively as Jose Mourinho’s pitful side were picked apart at the London Stadium.
Anderson made a staggering seven tackles on Saturday; for context, none of his teammates made more than four.
He also made one interception and perhaps more tellingly, two fouls. Obviously Pellegrini won’t want Anderson giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas but he will want him to get stuck in.
At the other end, he was potent. Of course, he opened the scoring with that impudent flick after just five minutes; setting the tone for a comprehensive victory.
He won three fouls as United failed to live with him and also created three chances with key passes for his team-mates.
He embarked on three dribbles, put in seven crosses and had a pass success rate of 79.5 per cent. His defensive work certainly didn’t stop him enjoying himself.
That new role
When West Ham and Anderson were struggling before the international break, it looked as if West Ham had signed the Brazilian without much consideration for where he fits into the team.
Pellegrini has allayed those fears by crafting a perfectly balanced front three. Anderson is perhaps the least natural of the trio in his position, but the numbers show he is working ever so hard to adapt.
The numbers also show he is succeeding. Now, Anderson looks every inch a dynamic, hard-working creative Premier League wideman; capable of causing any defence problems alongside Marko Arnautovic and Andriy Yarmolenko.
The adjustment has helped him truly arrive in the Premier League. Both Pellegrini and the player himself deserve huge credit.