Wolves’ 3-0 defeat to Brighton yesterday means that the Hammers could extend their lead over eighth place to six points with a victory, whilst the Gunners are looking to consolidate their place in the top four.
David Moyes’ men will also be looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2-1 home defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday as the Irons were dealt a hefty blow in their push to reach the final of the Europa League.
With the decisive second leg in Germany set to be played in five days’ time, here is how we expect the east London outfit to line up today against Arsenal:
West Ham XI: Fabianski, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell, Masuaku, Coufal, Noble, Soucek, Fornals, Benrahma, Antonio
If last weekend’s narrow defeat to Chelsea is anything to be followed by, we expect to see a host of changes for the Hammers with Europa League commitments the priority.
In goal comes the most likely change as league goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski takes over from Alphonse Areola whilst we expect Moyes to stick with the 3-4-2-1 set-up that worked for the majority of last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
That match saw defender Craig Dawson sent off, however, since then Kurt Zouma has been deemed fit and takes the Englishman’s place in between Aaron Cresswell and Ben Johnson.
On the flanks come Arthur Masuaku and Vladimir Coufal whilst Mark Noble takes Declan Rice’s place alongside Tomas Soucek in midfield as Moyes looks to rest key assets where possible.
In attacking midfield, out comes Manuel Lanzini, with the £69k-per-week Argentinian once dubbed as “stupid” by Trevor Sinclair, after a quiet match against Frankfurt, and in comes Said Benrahma alongside Pablo Fornals who keeps his place.
Up front, with the Jamaica international West Ham’s only senior striker, Michail Antonio keeps his place in the side after scoring his first goal in almost two months on Thursday.
It’s clear where Moyes’ priorities lie, however, a result in the Premier League today against Arsenal would certainly boost their bid to qualify for Europe via the league table if they are to fall short in the Europa League.