West Ham United have been handed a major boost ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash with Burnley…
According to the Evening Standard’s Jack Rosser, David Moyes could have the availability of as many as four key Hammers stars as they look to bounce back from successive league defeats.
It is claimed that Michail Antonio has recovered well from a hamstring problem and is in line to return sooner than first feared, whilst Declan Rice, Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku could all make a comeback at Turf Moor.
This is a huge development if Moyes’ side are to keep their hopes of qualifying for a European berth alive as all four players have been sorely missed in recent outings.
In the absence of Antonio, both Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen have had to step up into the unfamiliar roles of leading the Irons’ frontline, whilst right-backs Ryan Fredericks and Ben Johnson have often been deployed on the other flank without Cresswell nor Masuaku.
Moyes has had club captain Mark Noble able to deputise for his star midfielder, though his presence is just not the same. They have leaked eight goals in four games.
West Ham now sit six points behind Chelsea in fourth place and can halve the gap with a victory against the Clarets tonight. However, with four other ‘cup finals’ to play, it could be considered a risk to play some of these returning players.
The Irons have a fellow European contender in Everton, as well as a trio of struggling sides at the bottom, to play and Moyes surely doesn’t want to risk harming his already injury-hit squad.
It leaves him with an absolutely massive call to make.
Bringing Antonio and Rice back into the equation will undoubtedly aid their chances of success tonight but it would be a gamble on their four other remaining matches.
They should only start if genuinely 100% fit to feature.