Jesse Lingard has been grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United.
It comes as no surprise then that Arsenal fans are dreading the prospect of facing him on Sunday, given his form under manager David Moyes and his track record against the Gunners.
Not only has Lingard scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Premier League team – finding the net four times in eight games against Mikel Arteta’s side – he has been handed an additional boost in confidence from Gareth Southgate.
Jesse Lingard has been grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons since joining West Ham
The 28-year-old has revived his career under West Ham United manager David Moyes
He has a history of scoring goals against Arsenal – West Ham’s opponents on Sunday
Lingard received a call up to Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup qualifiers later this month after almost two years out of the system and will be looking to justify the decision on Sunday by adding to his tally.
The attacking midfielder has developed quite the reputation for dismantling Arsenal’s defence and has upset the club’s fans by scoring several important goals against them.
One of his most notable goals came during Manchester United’s 3-1 victory in the FA Cup fourth round in 2019. However, it was not just Lingard’s strike that devastated their supporters, it was his celebration too.
The midfielder illustrated his joy with the famous ‘moonwalk’ after securing Manchester United’s eighth win under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Lingard even took to social media to post a picture of himself dancing at the Emirates – tagging the location as the ‘dancefloor’.
However, this wasn’t the first time Lingard danced around the stadium as the 28-year-old previously recreated the ‘Milly Rock’ after scoring at the Gunners’ home ground.
Having been scarred by those torturous moments, Arsenal fans will be worried about what damage the former United midfielder can cause after rediscovering his form at West Ham.
The England international got off to a flying start at West Ham, bagging a brace on his debut
As a result, he received a call-up to Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup qualifiers
Since arriving at West Ham, Lingard has revived both his domestic career and international career – having broken into Moyes starting XI and receiving a call up to Southgate’s England squad.
The England international got off to a flying start at West Ham – bagging a brace on his debut in a 3-1 win at Aston Villa before helping the Hammers claim a point against Fulham three days later.
Lingard continued such fine form by assisting Declan Rice’s opening goal in a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United on his home debut in February.
He went on to further cement himself in Moyes’s first-choice XI by scoring the winner in West Ham’s 2-1 derby triumph over Tottenham, before assisting Michail Antonio’s equaliser in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.
As a result, Lingard was rewarded with nominations for the Premier League Player of the Month and PFA Fans’ Player of the Month awards for February.
Lingard’s sensational form caught the attention of Southgate, who has named the midfielder in his 26-man squad to face San Marino, Albania and Poland in the World Cup qualifiers later this month.
Arsenal fans are worried about what damage Lingard will do on Sunday during their clash
Lingard had always harboured hopes of earning an England recall when he joined the London club – having received his last cap in their penalty shoot-out win over Switzerland in the Nations League third-place play-off in June 2019.
The 28-year-old will be hoping to shine on the international stage once again after playing a pivotal role in England’s 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia.
Lingard’s decision to depart Manchester United after he was left out of October’s European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria proved to be the best decision he has made.
Lingard had only played 179 minutes of football in three appearances for Manchester United this season before his switch to West Ham.
Bruno Fernandes’ arrival pushed Lingard down the pecking order in his preferred position and saw him compete with the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James for minutes.
Lingard also struggled off the pitch as his decision to post an obscene Snapchat video showing a friend simulating sex in his hotel room during a holiday with friends caused problems with Solskjaer and the club.
While Roy Keane and Gary Neville criticised the player for starting his own clothing business and launching it in the lead-up to a clash with Liverpool. A game which cost Jose Mourinho his job.
Reflecting on the contrast in form at his parent and present club, 28-year-old Lingard said he lacked consistency but insists he has found his feet at West Ham.
Lingard has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Premier league club
David Moyes is hopeful of signing Jesse Lingard on a permanent basis at the end of the season
‘I’m obviously really enjoying my football, and I’ve settled in really well and the lads have taken to me really well,’ he told West Ham’s official website.
‘I’ve come here to play football week-in, week-out and that’s what I’m doing. Playing football makes me happy and when we win and play like we did on Sunday [when Lingard scored in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham], nothing can top that.
‘It’s about doing it consistently and that’s maybe where I’ve struggled before, doing it consistently in games, but I can feel now I’m coming to an age where I can keep that consistency and focus and concentration coming into games and playing games week-in, week-out which I haven’t been used to.’
However, things have gone from strength to strength at West Ham, with Moyes expressing his desire to sign Lingard on a permanent basis after his temporary deal at the club expires.
‘Jesse wanted to come here, right from the start. When I was talking to him he wanted to come to West Ham. He saw it as a really good place for him. I think he’ll have seen what we’re trying to do,’ Moyes said.
‘He’s joined a good group of players as well. We’ve got international players and I’m hoping we can add to that in the coming transfer window. The job is to try to add to that.
‘But I would hope Jesse sees this as a good place if it’s possible to be done, and if we think that we want to do it at the end of the season.’