West Ham United have confirmed that striker Marko Arnautovic is fit to play against Newcastle on Saturday, after the 29-year-old was forced off at home to Manchester City.
Arnautovic faced a late fitness test to travel to Newcastle, after the striker limped off in the Irons heavy 4-0 defeat to the Premier League leaders.
The Austrian is the Hammers’ top goalscorer so far this season with five goals in 11 league outings, edging summer signing Felipe Anderson by one.
Pellegrini has been forced to rely heavily on the 6 foot 4 forward, with injuries befalling Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll, and the Mexican struggling to score since his return.
Carroll is, however, in line for his first appearance under the Chilean against his former side. Surgery to his ankle has kept the Newcastle product out of action since before David Moyes departed in the summer.
Jack Wilshere is another member of West Ham’s squad in line to feature in some capacity at St James’ Park after he, too, passed a fitness test on his ankle injury. Pellegrini, though, suggests he is a step behind Carroll in terms of fitness.
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Had Arnautovic’s injury ruled the striker out of action against Newcastle, Pellegrini would have faced a selection headache.
Carroll may be ahead of Wilshere regarding fitness, but he is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes in the league. Hernandez, meanwhile, has proven himself not to be the striker West Ham thought they were signing in 2017.
The 105-cap Mexico international cannot function as the lead man in the way Arnautovic does, and nor can he shape their attacks, relying on the players around him to feed off.
As for Carroll, fitness concerns aside, the 29-year-old has been in dire form for years. Never has he in his time at West Ham scored more than ten goals in a season, and has only at best averaged a goal every two-and-a-half games.