West Ham United’s record signing Felipe Anderson has divided opinion since arriving for £40 million in the summer.
The Brazilian was West Ham’s long overdue marquee signing and accounted for nearly half the club’s unprecedented £100 million spend upon appointing Manuel Pellegrini.
A classy operator famed for his pace, dribbling, passing and grace but untried in English football.
Anderson offered Hammers fans hope during their torrid four-game losing run which got their season off to an all too familiar start.
His performances at Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and at home against Manchester United and Chelsea proved their new man can back up his price tag.
Two steps forward and five back
But he, like most of the West Ham team, has flopped in West Ham’s bread and butter games against Bournemouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton and bitter rivals Tottenham.
Played out on the left of a front three, Anderson has been expected to do plenty of tracking back.
And at times he has been found wanting in that regard.
That has led to criticism from the stands and inevitably on social media.
Some West Ham fans have pillared their record signing, labelling him a waste of money.
Rubbing shoulders with Premier League elite
But a new statistic proves those supporters have got it all wrong about a player who is quite simply not being used in his best position.
At Lazio, and Santos before that, Anderson was often deployed in the number 10 role behind a striker.
Certainly it suits his game to play more centrally.
Despite his inconsistency so far – even Pellegrini has conceded he can and will get better (whufc.com) – and West Ham’s lowly league position, Anderson is still in the top eight players in the Premier League when it comes to chances created.
Anderson is rubbing shoulders with the likes of David Silva, Eden Hazard and Mohamed Salah when it comes to the most chances created in the top flight (Daily Mail).
Central role is a must to unlock Anderson potential
Manchester City ace Silva leads the way with 31 chances created.
But Anderson makes the list in eighth with 21 chances created.
That puts him ahead of Liverpool hero Salah and Wolves star Joao Moutinho. And it is only four less than fourth-placed Hazard, widely regarded the best player in the Premier League.
Yes he must do a job for the team defensively.
Even with a Premier League-worst injury list West Ham are not a strong enough outfit to carry luxury players.
The stats don’t lie, in fact they prove Anderson is doing the job he was brought in for and doing it well.
Now it is down to Pellegrini to play Anderson in a more central role where he can hurt the opposition on a consistent basis.
TOP 10 CHANCES CREATED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
- David Silva 31
- Gylfi Sigurdsson 28
- Willian 28
- Eden Hazard 25
- Ryan Fraser 25
- Jean Michael Seri 23
- James Maddison 22
- Felipe Anderson 21
- Mohamed Salah 20
- Joao Moutinho 20