West Ham will strive to bounce back from defeat at Manchester United and put the pressure on Chelsea with a London derby victory over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
The Irons can move level with the Blues in fourth place in the Premier League with a win over Mikel Arteta’s Gunners, as the Stamford Bridge natives host Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Arsenal’s trip to the London Stadium marks West Ham’s game in hand over Thomas Tuchel’s outfit, who presently sit in the last of the Champions League qualifying places and with a superior goal difference to the Hammers.
However, David Moyes is facing a number of injury concerns approaching the international break. With that in mind, here’s a potential line-up which the claret and blue side could field against Arsenal…
Moyes opted to field a five-man defence against Manchester United last time out, with academy product Ben Johnson recalled to occupy the left-back spot beside Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson and Vladimir Coufal.
The 21-year-old fared reasonably well, although was hauled off alongside Mark Noble early in the second half to allow the Irons to go more aggressive with the introduction of Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma.
Lanzini was a bright spark from the off and just what West Ham lacked without Jesse Lingard, and will expect to join the Red Devils loanee in the starting line-up against Arsenal as a reward for his promising contribution.
Lingard could not feature at Old Trafford due to the terms of the Irons’ loan agreement, but is in contention for a recall this weekend in search of a fifth goal or third assist since moving to the London Stadium in the winter market.
Noble had very little impact on proceedings against Manchester United as the £50,000-per-week veteran made only his fourth start of the Premier League term, and was often overrun in the engine room with the Red Devils’ pace too much for the 33-year-old to handle.
With Arsenal boasting a number of quick players and Arteta’s tactics seeing the Emirates Stadium natives move the ball around more than most top-flight sides, Moyes will be expected to drop Noble and Johnson for a return to a 4-2-3-1 formation on Sunday.
A return to the system utilised for 13 of West Ham’s 28 Premier League fixtures this season will further be expected to see Jarrod Bowen return to the wing after being deployed at centre-forward beside Michail Antonio last week.
Moyes will be unable to call on the likes of Pablo Fornals (groin) and Angelo Ogbonna (ankle) against the Gunners due to injuries, having noted on Friday that West Ham will have the same group of players available to him which faced Manchester United.
“We’ve got just about everybody the same [as last week],” Moyes said. “Pablo Fornals is improving, and, on the injury front, Angelo Ogbonna is closing in and getting much closer to fitness but he’s a wee bit away.
“Arthur Masuaku and Andriy Yarmolenko are both getting much closer, as well, so hopefully, it won’t be too long until we’re back to a full squad.”
Two changes to be expected from last week, then.
AND in other news, a West Ham winter target is set to be available for £17m this summer…