West Ham midfielder Felipe Anderson(Image: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Why West Ham need a new Felipe Anderson after his return from injury to fire them to safety

The Hammers have been without their former club-record signing for more than a month after he damaged ribs against Sheffield United


West Ham winger Felipe Anderson hasn't had the most productive season of his career in 2019/20, even before his injury suffered against Sheffield United which has ruled him out for more than a month.

Late on in the 1-0 defeat to the Blades, Anderson was on the end of a hefty challenge from Mo Besic and landed awkwardly, injuring his rib and back in the fall.

But it came just as Anderson was starting to hit some stride, scoring in the 4-0 rout over Bournemouth in Moyes' first game back at the helm and turning in one of his better performances of what has been a tough campaign.

In fact 2019 was pretty hard work for Anderson, who scored just two goals in the calendar year in the Premier League as he struggled to find the net.

But with the winger set to return from injury against Manchester City next week off the bench, just how big of a player could he be in West Ham's fight against relegation from the League?

Prior to his injury, as you can see below in his shot map, Anderson has been making some poor decisions in the final third as he is taking on far too many difficult shots on goal (yellow colours) as opposed to the easier ones (red)
Felipe Anderson's shot map prior to his injury(Image: Twenty3)

Lots of them are speculative pot shots from distance outside the area as the Brazilian struggles to create better shooting opportunities for himself and his teammates were unable to help him as well.

West Ham's shots on goal before and after Anderson's injury as well make for an interesting read.
West Ham's shot map before Anderson's injury(Image: Twenty3)
West Ham's shot map after Anderson suffered his injury(Image: Twenty3)

While the sample size is obviously far bigger with five months of games compared to one, when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge the Hammers were getting the ball into the box a lot more either from wide areas or into feet through the middle.

After the injury to Anderson, and in general under Moyes, there is a distinct lack of production from the left hand side of the field, where Pablo Fornals, Robert Snodgrass and Manuel Lanzini have often been operating.

You can refer back to Anderson's shot map in general however and see there has been little coming from the left flank of the pitch from the Brazilian himself as he struggled to carve out an identity this season.

That is despite the Brazilian almost exclusively touching the ball on the left flank prior to his injury. Compare that to where the shots on goal are coming from then it seems that cutting inside into traffic has been a theme and more often than not, losing the ball.
Felipe Anderson's touch map this season(Image: Twenty3)

Playing as a winger, Anderson hasn't been hitting the byline enough either as you can see on the touch map. The Brazilian is getting the ball on the left and not going on, preferring to pass inside or even backwards as you can see below.
Felipe Anderson's pass direction this season(Image: Twenty3)

Now obviously Anderson is not going to pass the ball out of play if he is playing on the left wing so that's why those numbers heading left are low, but his lack of real forward passing is also a concern going forward and something Moyes needs to get him doing more of.

Even without looking at the stats and just using the eye tests from what we've seen this season, Anderson needs to be running at defenders more, taking players on and using his pace to do what he is best at - beating a defender.

Anderson is averaging just three progressive runs per game and just two touches per game in the opposition box for the Hammers this season before his injury at Bramall Lane.

Stats are one thing to highlight where a player needs to improve upon a return from injury but the eye test often never fails - West Ham and Moyes need to see more from Anderson when he is back in action.