Lanzini close to Hammers return

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking forward to being able to select a fit-again Manuel Lanzini, perhaps as soon as for the clash with Fulham on Friday evening.

The 26-year-old forward has not featured at all for the Hammers so far this season, having sustained a torn ACL in his right knee during a pre-World Cup training camp with Argentina.

However, he is close to being ready to make his return, as is Samir Nasri, who has been struggling with a calf problem for the past month.

And Pellegrini s weighing up the possibility of using both players in the Premier League derby meeting with the Cottagers at the London Stadium on Friday evening.

Pellegrini told his club's official website: "For this game, we have the squad which was playing most of the games and maybe Lanzini and Nasri can (also) be included.

"Manu is coming back from a long injury, so we are going to decide the best way for him to return to the team, starting from the beginning or coming on after some minutes.

"He is a player who gives you different things. He is very technical player, he is a fast player.

"If you review the last part of the last season, Marko Arnautovic had a good performance, but most of the goals also involved Manu making good assists and good plays."

The Irons are 5/6 to defeat Fulham on Friday evening and are 8/1 to do so by a 2-1 scoreline, with the hosts 7/4 to keep a clean sheet.

The meeting of the two sides at Craven Cottage earlier in the season finished 2-0 to the Hammers, with Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio their goalscorers.

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No Arnautovic movement yet

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has revealed there is still no movement in a proposed exit for striker Marko Arnautovic.

The Austrian's agent last week suggested his brother wanted a move to China, with West Ham reportedly having been offered £35m for a player they acquired for £20m last year from Stoke City.

The Hammers however released a statement suggesting they would not be willing to sell, insisting Arnautovic had a contract they anticipated he would honour.

Ahead of this weekend's trip to Bournemouth, where West Ham are 9/5 to win, Pellegrini has revealed the forward is working well in training.

"He is working with the team without any problem. He has a contract here so we will know what happens with that in the coming days," said the Chilean.

Meanwhile Pellegrini has suggested that former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has returned to English football with a point to prove.

The 31-year-old ex-French international impressed last weekend on his debut as West Ham overcame Arsenal at the London Stadium.

"He has a lot of quality, in the way he wants to get some revenge in football. His quality, we never had any doubts about him," Pellegrini said.

West Ham are 18/1 to beat Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, while the game is 13/5 to end level.

Last weekend's match-winner Declan Rice continues to impress his boss.

"He is a player that will continue improving, he is just 20-years-old so he has a lot of time to continue growing as a player. I think he can play both positions [centre back and midfield] but I repeat that he is improving every day," added the West Ham boss.

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Pellegrini: Rice becoming top player

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini feels match-winner Declan Rice is on the road to becoming a 'complete player' after his goal in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

The teenager scored shortly after half-time, firing a shot into the roof of the net having been teed-up by former Gunners midfielder Samir Nasri on his West Ham bow.

Rice, who can play at centre-back or in centre midfield, has been in the headlines recently as his international future draws attention.

He has earned three caps for the Republic of Ireland, all in friendlies, and the London-born man could yet decide to declare for England.

He was named man of the match after West Ham's lunchtime win over Arsenal and his manager feels he has the attributes to go right to the top.

"He is improving in every game," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.

"He has showed good technique and is good in aerial duels, I think we are seeing the complete player. At 19-years-old, I am sure we will see a top, top player."

Rice meanwhile admitted he was elated to nail his first Premier League goal, especially after missing a headed chance in the first half. He revealed his teammates have encouraged him to try his luck more often.

"I can't put it into the words. The lads are always on at me to take the shot on more. I have been getting into the box more recently and I was gutted with missing the header in the first half.

Arsenal failed to create the sort of scoring chances many would have expected and Pellegrini felt his players carried out their game plan effectively. If any side was going to score the games' second goal, the Chilean suggested it would have been West Ham

"I was pleased with the balance and consistency of the team. We did not allow Arsenal any chances despite their quality of players. We played with a mentality of a big team, always going for the second goal," he added.

West Ham are 2/1 to win their next game at Bournemouth next Saturday. The Cherries are 13/10 with the draw priced at 12/5.

Pellegrini eyes European opportunity

Head coach Manuel Pellegrini says his West Ham side should take the FA Cup very seriously this season, with a route back into European football on offer.

The Hammers started December by winning four Premier League games in a row, only to stutter over the festive period by claiming just one victory in their last four outings.

Next on the agenda is an FA Cup third-round visit from Championship play-off hopefuls Birmingham City, with Pellegrini clearly wanting to see his team try and make progress in the competition.

The Chilean told reporters: "To win a title with West Ham is one of the targets. I will always try to win. The FA Cup is a very important trophy and for any manager it's important to try to win.

"In this moment, we are at the beginning of the cup. We will try to continue in the FA Cup, like every other team.

"It's another option to win a title and another opportunity to qualify for Europe, so we will fight until the end."

Meanwhile, Pellegrini also confirmed that recent signing Samir Nasri will play some part in the game against the Blues on Saturday, adding: "Samir will be in the squad. We will see if he will start playing, but he will be important this year.

"He is looking well and he has lost some weight. I think football is like riding a bicycle, you never forget. He is motivated and working hard."

The Londoners are 1/2 to defeat Birmingham in 90 minutes and are 7/1 to claim a 1-0 victory, with the Irons 33/1 to go all the way and win the FA Cup this season, having already done so three times in their history.

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Nasri signing bolsters Hammers

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is hopeful that attacking midfielder Samir Nasri will make a positive impact for the Hammers in the second half of the season.

The 31-year-old France international has been training with the Premier League club for some time in a bid to earn a contract, having been forced to take time away from the game due to off-field issues.

And his efforts have paid off, with Pellegrini happy to work with Nasri again, having previously been in charge of the player at Manchester City.

The Chilean told his club's official website: "He is a player I obviously know well from our time together at Manchester City.

"He has been working very hard here in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing and he is now very determined to return to his best.

"Samir will give us another dimension in our attacking play. He already has very good experience of the Premier League and we hope that he will have a positive impact on the team between now and the end of the season."

Nasri started his career with Marseille, before enjoying spells with Arsenal and the Citizens, while he has also featured for Sevilla and Antalyspor.

He has won 41 caps for his country, while in his time in Manchester he helped City to two Premier League titles and a League Cup success.

West Ham can be backed at 4/6 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season and are 40/1 to claim a top-six finish.

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Zabaleta seeks Nasri reunion

Pablo Zabaleta hopes West Ham United decide to offer Samir Nasri, who is currently training with Manuel Pellegrini's squad, a contract.

Zabaleta was a team-mate of the former France international for six years during their time together at Manchester City.

Nasri last played a competitive fixture almost a year ago, in the Turkish Super Lig for Antalyaspor, and there are concerns that he will not be fit enough to cope with the rigours of the Premier League.

Zabaleta thinks differently though, saying: "Manuel [Pellegrini] knows Samir very well from his time at Manchester City.

"We need players with his quality, especially because also we lost two key players who brought quality into this team – Manuel Lanzini in the summer before the World Cup and then [Jack] Wilshere, who is very close to coming back to the team.

"On the ball [Nasri] is fantastic. He is one of those players who can give to the team some possession and play between the lines to help the attacking players to create chances.

"Hopefully he can reach his best fitness level. He has to feel physically good because we know that the Premier League is so demanding physically."

West Ham, 7/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season, take on Manchester City this weekend. The Hammers are 5/1 to draw the match and 12/1 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

Nasri close to City exit

Pep Guardiola has revealed that Samir Nasri is on the verge of leaving Manchester City while Kelechi Iheanacho is set to sign for Leicester City.

Nasri spent last season on loan at Sevilla but the France international was a substitute for City on Saturday as they beat Tottenham 3-0 in the International Champions Cup.

However, Guardiola has made it clear that Nasri will not be in his plans this season, saying: "We wanted to keep him last pre-season but he decided to go to Sevilla. He knows the situation. We have a lot of midfield players.

"He's a guy who has unbelievable ability to keep the ball in small spaces. The ball is safe. He has his own special quality. The group are satisfied with him and his behaviour."

Meanwhile, Guardiola said of 20-year-old Nigerian forward Iheanacho: "I think Kelechi is going to leave, for Leicester. I think so, but I don't want to say something wrong. If it doesn't happen he will be part of the group."

John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Brahim Diaz all scored for City as they easily beat Spurs while Sergio Aguero twice hit the woodwork for Guardiola's impressive team.

Manchester City are available at 15/8 to win the Premier League title in 2017/18 while they are 6/5 to accrue over 80 points this season .