Dabid Moyes’ West Ham United side host relegation-threatened Burnley at the London Stadium in the Premier League later today, with the Hammers looking to build on Thursday night’s famous 3-0 victory against Lyon.
The 58-year-old’s outfit advanced to the semi-finals of the Europa League with a colossal performance in France but must now turn their attention back to their push for a top-six finish.
With six games to go, the Irons are in control of their fate and are currently sitting in seventh ahead of their meeting with managerless Burnley, who parted company with Sean Dyche on Friday after almost 10 years of service.
However, it’s crucial that Moyes’ men return to winning ways in the league after last weekend’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Brentford, especially against a side in the relegation zone.
It’s another massive game in the east London club’s season, but who should be entrusted to start? Here is how Football FanCast expect the Hammers to line up.
Predicted XI: Fabianski (GK), Johnson (LB), Diop (LCB) Dawson (RCB), Coufal (RB), Rice (CDM), Soucek (CDM), Fornals (LW), Benrahma (CAM), Bowen (RW), Antonio (ST)
Setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, we expect the Hammers to make just two changes from the 3-0 win over Lyon as Moyes looks to keep a winning team together as much as possible, whilst also managing potential fatigue.
In goal comes an expected change as Lukasz Fabianski returns between the sticks in the place of Alphonse Areola. The Polish goalkeeper has been entrusted with league duties this season whilst the PSG loanee has been West Ham’s ‘keeper in cup competitions as well as in Europe.
The defence stays the same with Thursday’s clean sheet a rarity for the east London side this season, with just seven shutouts in the Premier League all campaign, the seventh-worst in the top-flight.
As widely expected, the excellent defensive midfield duo of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek keep their starting berths, with the other change coming in the attacking midfield three – as Manuel Lanzini drops out for Said Benrahma in the hole.
Labelled as “stupid” by former Hammer Trevor Sinclair earlier this season, the £69k-per-week Argentinian has only recently returned to action after being involved in a serious car crash earlier this month.
The 29-year-old was thankfully left without serious injury but did take a slight knock that ruled the attacking midfielder out of the Hammers’ 2-1 win over Everton.
In a change to ensure freshness in the side after playing on Thursday evening comes Benrahma, who, at times, has been a delight this season.
The Algerian was described as “unplayable” by former player and pundit Joe Cole earlier this season and provides more creativity than Lanzini, with nine goals and six assists compared to his teammate’s six goals and three assists.
Up front is, as expected, Michail Antonio – with the Jamaica international currently experiencing a 12-game goal drought in the league. However, the forward remains the Hammers’ only senior option up top.
The clash is another vital match in the Irons’ season as they look to reclaim their place in the top six.