West Ham United host Brighton & Hove Albion in their final home Premier League fixture of 2020 and will likely be without leading striker Michail Antonio once again through injury.
David Moyes remained coy over the English centre-forward’s chances of featuring against the Seagulls when addressing his situation earlier in the week, noting that the Hammers would continue monitoring his progress after returning to training on grass pitches.
Moyes faces changes elsewhere in his plans after West Ham produced a toothless display in defeat to Chelsea on Monday night. So, with that in mind, here’s a line-up the Scottish coach could favour as he strives to beat Graham Potter’s relegation-threatened Brighton…
West Ham’s defence picks itself after Moyes lost Arthur Masuaku for the foreseeable future after knee surgery, with Vladimir Coufal, Angelo Ogbonna, Fabian Balbuena and Aaron Cresswell the men favoured with protecting Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.
Moyes is unlikely to deviate from Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice in the engine room or Jarrod Bowen and Sebastien Haller starting in attack, either, despite speculation arising of doubt over the Ivory Coast striker’s long-term future at the London Stadium.
Haller is yet to establish himself under Moyes whilst deputising for the injured Antonio, with the Hammers’ £45m record signing only offering two goals since seeing his strike partner limp off the field at home to Manchester City in October.
Moyes will hope to see his West Ham side produce far better results in the final third at home to Brighton on Sunday than fashioned in Monday’s 3-0 loss at Chelsea, with the Irons failing to register a single shot on target against Frank Lampard’s side.
Mark Noble struggled to inspire any offensive moves at Stamford Bridge while stepping into the attacking midfield line after Said Benrahma fell to the bench, with the Hammers captain unable to record a single shot, key pass or successful dribble in south west London.
Moyes will need to correct this at home to Brighton with the introduction of Manuel Lanzini for a first start of the Premier League season, a player who Darren Bent claimed is blessed with “great technique” after his sublime cameo against Crystal Palace.
Benrahma may also be rewarded with a recall to face Brighton after replacing Pablo Fornals in the 66th-minute against Chelsea, having seen the Spaniard fail to attempt a single dribble, produce a key ball or shot on target and be dispossessed three times, per WhoScored.