Marko Arnautovic has been an integral part of West Ham’s recent turnaround.
The numbers show that the Austrian is performing as well as the Premier League’s elite strikers and he is playing through injury in order to help the Hammers’ cause.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini has clearly been impressed by his talisman’s start to the season but also laid down the gauntlet to him; to keep his ‘difficult’ attitude under control and to perform consistently over the course of the season.
Yet, the fact that it’s going well so far is testament to the classy Chilean’s man-management skills…
In his own words
Speaking ahead of tonight’s trip to Brighton, Pellegrini said: “Marko has character, a difficult character. He is always trying to give all of him because it is the way he feels the football.
“He is controlling more himself, so I hope we will not have any problems. Marko needs a complete season, scoring the way he did in part of the last season.
“I think that everyone feels we have a better team. We can try to, if you have an ambitious mind, have a good target at the end of the season. Marko knows what he can give.”
Who deserves the credit?
Both men deserve their fair share of the praise. Arnautovic has transformed his attitude and his position; the man who was once a temperamental, inconsistent winger is now a reliable, aggressive centre-forward.
As Pellegrini eluded to, Arnie is controlling himself more these days. However, Pellegrini also deserves credit.
He had a player struggling with injury in a team struggling for points and there was not even a hint of trouble; his calmness is exactly what West Ham need and perhaps what Arnautovic needs as well.