West Ham visit Manchester United on Sunday looking to stake their claim to Champions League qualification, but David Moyes has revealed there are a number of injury concerns.
The Irons are six points behind the Red Devils, albeit with a game in hand, and can put the pressure on fourth-placed Chelsea with a win after the Blues’ goalless draw with Leeds United on Saturday.
Manchester United have beaten West Ham in each of their previous two meetings this season, but required extra time to eliminate the Irons from the FA Cup last month. However, their Premier League form has been underwhelming, with five draws in their last eight fixtures.
Moyes will be without Jesse Lingard at Old Trafford, with the on-loan midfielder ineligible to face his parent club. With that in mind, here’s a potential line-up the Hammers may field…
Moyes confirmed on Friday that West Ham are facing a number of injury concerns ahead of travelling to Manchester United this weekend, but hopes that those facing late fitness tests will be able to feature.
“We’ve got a couple of slight doubts behind the scenes on a couple of players, who have just picked up slight injuries which I’m hoping will be okay,” he said. “I won’t know until tomorrow [Saturday] to see how a couple of them are going.
“That’s just something I’m nursing behind the scenes a little bit. It might be that they’re all okay, it might be that they’re not okay – that’s where it is.”
Lingard will be one who cannot feature against the Red Devils due to the terms of West Ham’s loan agreement, depriving Moyes of a four-goal, two-assist option who has been involved in more goals than any Hammers player since his arrival at the London Stadium.
“He’ll be a big loss because he’s had a big impact on the team and how we’ve played. He’s been a positive signing for us, coming in in January, so it is a loss to us, but we’ve got other people,” Moyes added.
Lingard is likely to be the only player who started Monday’s 2-0 win over Leeds to be withdrawn from the West Ham line-up against Manchester United, barring a tactical shift from the east London outfit or a late injury.
Jarrod Bowen will be expected to take over the England international’s place in the team and replace Pablo Fornals on the right wing, with the Spaniard changing sides and Said Benrahma moving centrally.
Bowen has not started either of West Ham’s last two Premier League games after falling out of the team which beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 last month, although the £25m-rated maestro has won plaudits this season, with Dean Windass telling Football FanCast that “he’s proved me wrong”.
Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford will be a big test for Benrahma after Moyes vocalised his desires to see a better end product from the Algerian after beating Leeds.
Benrahma is yet to score in claret and blue since his initial arrival on loan from Brentford last summer, while providing five assists in 22 appearances, of which he has started 12, across all competitions.
Moyes could look to reduce his forward options in Lingard’s absence, which may open the door for Ben Johnson to feature at left-back in a return to a five-man defence, or Mark Noble to start in a more congested engine room to try and thwart the dangerous Bruno Fernandes.