Pablo Fornals has begun this season as he ended last and the Spaniard’s fine form has recently seen him win his first international caps since 2018.
West Ham’s attacking midfielder shone while on duty with Spain, providing an assist against Georgia before netting his first international goal with a fine left-footed strike against Kosovo.
Including his form with the national side, Fornals has now got three goals and two assists in five matches this season helping the Hammers to second in the league table and an unbeaten start to the campaign.
West Ham have scored ten goals in just three league games with the quartet of Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Fornals thriving in attacking.
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“The understanding is good with everyone but with Micky especially,” Fornals told The Guardian.
“He knows what I’m going to do, where I’m going to run, and I know what he’s going to do – if he wants it long or to feet. Almost without looking we know where each other are.”
It is not just in attack where West Ham have improved with Fornals pointing to a new style of play David Moyes has brought to the club since the Hammers returned after lockdown last season.
“Recently we’ve been playing out from the back more,” he said. “Maybe having more possession but without losing the essence of our game: rob possession, launch quick attacks and be compact defensively, make life difficult for the opposition.”
The Hammers have certainly made life harder for the opposition. Over the course of 2021 only champions, Manchester City and Moyes’ former team Manchester United have taken more points than West Ham.
The Hammers have won 13, draw three and lost just six of their 22 matches this calendar year taking 42 points in the process. Despite the resources at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s disposal Manchester United have managed just one point more than the Hammers in that time and European Champions Chelsea one point less.
West Ham’s form saw them finish last season in sixth spot with a record Premier League points tally of 65 and secure a place in the Europa League group stages.
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European football as a find reward for their hard work and the reality of the achievement is bound to set in next Thursday when the team walks out to take on Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, something Fornals cannot wait for.
“You can’t ever get distracted from the league, but the excitement we all feel at playing the Europa League is immense,” the Spaniard said.
“Fans, club, players: nothing can take that anticipation away.”