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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Switch to striker role has been the making of Marko Arnautovic

Mark Langdon highlights the Premier League's in-form forwards

Marko Arnautovic celebrates scoring against Everton
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David Moyes won’t get much credit for his work with West Ham but converting Marko Arnautovic from a winger into a striker has changed the Austrian's career.

Arnautovic, on target in West Ham’s 3-1 win over Manchester United last Saturday, was seen as a maverick, inconsistent wide player for Stoke until the Moyes move made him a goal machine.

Injuries to Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll have helped to cement Arnie’s role as an out-and-out striker, but he is now putting up legitimate stats for a prolific forward.

Arnautovic was first used in the role in a 1-0 win over Chelsea in December, scoring the only goal, and since then it has been nothing but success for the 29-year-old.

Arnautovic has scored 15 Premier League goals in 26 matches since starting up front against Chelsea and this season he is averaging a goal every 113 minutes with four goals in six outings.

That is significantly superior to his career minutes-per-goal figure of 333 and puts him ahead of Harry Kane (MPG this season 126), Romelu Lukaku (141) and Mohamed Salah (195).

It may be a push to call him a genuine Golden Boot contender, although Arnautovic could be considered a decent price at 66-1 each-way with Sky Bet.

Jose Mourinho, who managed Arnautovic at Inter, once said: “Mario Balotelli is his best friend. They have the same problems. Marko is a great guy, but he has the mentality of a child.”

Like most kids, maybe Arnie just wanted to play up front.


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Arnautovic has scored 15 Premier League goals in 26 matches since starting up front against Chelsea
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