Early bird Manu set for Spurs

In-form attacker Manuel Lanzini has specialised in scoring early goals in big matches throughout his career
If West Ham United net an early goal in Sunday’s Barclays Premier League derby at Tottenham Hotspur, the man most likely to score it is Manuel Lanzini.

The Argentine has form in that department, making a habit of scoring big goals in the opening minutes of big matches.

Lanzini, after all, is the man who needed just three minutes of his first Barclays Premier League start to score the opening goal in West Ham United’s stunning 3-0 victory at Liverpool in August, reacting smartly to stab in an Aaron Cresswell cross-shot.

The 22-year-old certainly hit the ground running that afternoon at Anfield, just as he did on his debut for the Club against UEFA Europa League rivals Astra Giurgiu in Romania at the start of August, when he found the net in the fourth minute.

When it comes to lightning starts, though, he has managed even better. To be precise, in May 2013, he hit the fastest goal in the history of Argentinian football’s biggest fixture – the ‘Superclásico’ between Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors.

He has the details imprinted in his memory, and they come out one by one: “At the Bombonera. Forty-three seconds. It was a header.”

Lanzini was 20 at the time he struck that historic goal in an eventual 1-1 draw at Boca’s stadium and he adds: “It was magical. It was my first official goal against Boca and to go into the history books in such a big game is really magical. Scoring the quickest goal in history of the ‘Superclásico’ at the Bombonera is something you dream about and luckily it actually happened to me.

“The next year we went back there and won 2-1 and I scored again,” he continues. “There were only Boca fans in the stadium as away fans can’t go to games in Argentina and to witness that silence was lovely.”

So, if you are heading to White Hart Lane or planning to watch Sunday’s game on television, make sure you take your seat for kick-off, or else you might well miss another magical moment from the Hammers’ early bird!