There is no denying the player on everyone’s lips at West Ham United right now is Andriy Yarmolenko.

The talented Ukrainian has three goals in six games for West Ham this season.

And he has been on fire for his country too, notching another in their win over Portugal this week.

That 2-1 victory secured Ukraine’s place at Euro 2020.

It also saw Yarmolenko’s name thrust – quite rightly – into the spotlight again.

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Yarmolenko shining for club and country

The skilful attacker returns to West Ham today ahead of Saturday’s trip to Goodison Park, where he made his mark for the Hammers in a 3-1 win last season.

Injury cut short Yarmolenko’s debut campaign this time last year.

But he has come back with a bang this term.

Many fans and pundits have mulled over why Yarmolenko has been so impressive despite spending so long out of the game.

The answer is undoubtedly multi-faceted.

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Why Arnautovic’s departure has helped star thrive

But a big factor has been the departure of hot and cold Marko Arnautovic.

On his day the moody Austrian was a real threat for West Ham.

 

However, for someone like Yarmolenko he would have been a nightmare to play with.

Arnautovic was never truly a striker, despite his success in the role under David Moyes.

And his inconsistency, coupled with a lack of the innate knowledge of playing as the lone striker, meant he would fail time and again to make the right runs or link the play in the right places at the right times.

When Arnautovic was on form, his explosiveness and power papered over the cracks.

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True striker Haller getting the best out of Andriy

But he must have been hugely frustrating to play with for players like Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson.

Yarmo – as he is affectionately known by the Hammers fans – has already showed how dangerous he can be alongside a true striker like Sebastien Haller.

The Frenchman is the antidote to Arnautovic. A player who knows the lone striker role inside out and uses his intelligence to bring the Ukrainian and others into the game.

Haller’s brilliant piece of skill and agility to set Yarmolenko up for his goal at Bournemouth is a case in point.

West Ham only got £22.5million for Arnautovic when he betrayed the club by demanding a move to China for a second time.

But most fans were glad to get shot of him. And while he may never admit it, so too is Yarmolenko.

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