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Hammers grow stronger as Enner Valencia returns

The Hammers are having a great season under new manager Slaven Bilic, with victories against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as an awesome display away at Crystal Palace, which the boss described as his ‘proudest moment’. And we could make even more of a mark when Enner Valencia returns.

Some pundits are suggesting that the Ecuador international may struggle to get in the side now that Sam Allardyce has left. Valencia remains largely untested at Upon Park and in the EPL as a whole.

 

West Ham vs Arsenal by Wonker, on Flickr

by wonker
Many of us were delighted when the 25-year-old signed before the start of the 2014/15 season. Yet it seemed that – like many foreign players, including Thierry Henry at Arsenal – he was struggling to find his stride a bit in his first season and some certainly questioned whether he was worth the £12 million we paid for him, despite the fact he was by no means poor.

And while the Ecuadorian may struggle to gain a place initially in a side that is playing wonderful, free-flowing and attacking football, this will not last very long.

Yes, the strong form of his team-mates so far in the 2015/16 means Valencia needs to work very hard to prove himself within West Ham’s current squad. The likes of Victor Moses, Manuel Lanzini, Diafra Sakho – and of course Dimitri Payet – have all been great in attack for the Hammers this season.

Hammers fans have great reason to be excited about Enner Valencia’s imminent return at the Boleyn Ground. Don’t forget that we have shown ourselves to be giant killers this season. And perhaps the match against a struggling Chelsea is the perfect time for the Ecuadorian international to re-stake his claim.

Last year, Jose Mourinho criticised Allardyce’s West Ham for playing ‘19th century football’, but maybe – just maybe – Valencia’s return will confine the Special One to history if we can inflict a fifth Premier League defeat on the Blues. With odds of 10/3 when this article was produced for a Hammers win at Paddy Power, it might be worth taking a punt, especially considering the enticing ‘bet £10, get £30’ offer on BritishBookmakers.co.uk right now.

Thanks to a quick turn of pace in the final third, his sheer unpredictability in front of goal and strong link-up play with fellow front-man Diafra Sakho, Bilic will be able to use Valencia to devastating effect in front of goal. It’s also likely that Sakho’s own performances will improve dramatically when his strike-partner comes back from injury.

As a natural goalscorer, Valencia will be most effective when played as an orthodox striker with support to work from in the final third. He may need to work on the technical side of his game if he’s ever going to make it as a standout Premier League regular, but Bilic has shown that he knows how to work with players on the training ground to get the best out of them during matches. With this in mind, there is every reason to suggest that Valencia will succeed this term.

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The Gaffer
I've been a passionate Hammers fan since i can remember. Growing up in Canning Town i was always down Upton Park as it was only a 10 minute walk down the Barking road. Always and forever COYI ! West Ham Till I Die !
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