Thursday 18 February 2016

Marshall To Lead the Line For Hammers Against Blackburn

It's kinda inevitable that with his surname and rapmeister look, that Hammers new man Emmanuel Emenike is already being referred to as soundalike hitman Eminem AKA Marshall Mathers! With the recent departure of Nikica Jelavic to China, the latest injuries to Andy Sicknote and Enner Valencia, and Diafra Sakho still a few weeks away from a return, Emenike faces a big opportunity to demonstrate his ability.

So far, the verdict has been mixed. Hammers fans were aware that Emenike is an emotional player, even to the point of volatility. In more practical terms, he had lost his previous scoring touch that in 2013 won him the Golden boot at the AFCON, ultimately being forced out of the Nigerian Super Eagles National team set up.

Some commentators warned that his first touch can be heavy, and early evidence suggests that indeed may be so. In addition, others have commented that he prefers to play from a wide attacking position rather than in the central role where the Hammers lack presence. However, he is well known to Slaven Bilic from his Turkish adventures and has strength and power as major assets.
In last weekend's game against Norwich he came on for a crazy final 20 minutes and managed to get himself into two gilt edged scoring positions, but sadly fluffed both!  On the plus side, he did get into scoring positions and watching his movement, he positions like a striker rather than an attacking wide player.

His first touch was heavy on a few occasions, including one which almost led to a dangerous Norwich counter attack. This, of course, may just be a combination of his enthusiasm along with having to adapt to the speed of the Premiership. Either way, it looks like Hammers fans are destined to get a close look at their now striker as Sakho will need time to get to match fitness.

Given his history, Hammers fans will be hoping that Emineke gets a confidence-boosting goal early in his Hammers career, and the tussle with Blackburn will provide an excellent opportunity to show his worth. Bilic has done virtually nothing wrong in the transfer market so far (OK, so Jelavic proved a squad bolstering move that didn't quite work out!) and seems to have a good sense of what works in the Premiership. Fingers crossed!


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