Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United will be eager to make it six home matches unbeaten with three points against a resurgent Newcastle United side at London Stadium in the Premier League this weekend.
The Hammers surprised many with their team selection in the narrow defeat at Manchester City in midweek, but it was the product of having, once more, the biggest injury list in the league. So, with injuries plaguing the squad and equally, some stars returning from injury, how will Pellegrini’s West Ham line up for the visit of Rafa Benitez’s Magpies? Find out in our analysis.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski
All being well, in goal for the East Londoners tomorrow evening at 5:30pm GMT and kicking off our predicted starting Xl, will be Lukasz Fabianski. It’s been almost two months since his last clean sheet in the home win over Arsenal on Saturday 12 January and he will be hungry to break that baron run in this match.
RB: Ryan Fredericks
Having returned to the starting team in place of Pablo Zabaleta at the Etihad Stadium, Ryan Fredericks’ heroic performance on the night will surely mean he keeps his place at right-back within the back-four. It will be his fourth start in five for the club.
RCB: Issa Diop
The memory of scoring his first Premier League goal in the Hammers’ last home fixture, a 3-1 win over Fulham, will still be fresh in the mind of Issa Diop when he starts at right-centre-back tomorrow. But it’s likely he’ll have to wait at least another week to renew his partnership with injured Fabian Balbuena.
LCB: Angelo Ogbonna
‘The General’ still being on the treatment table means another game for Angelo Ogbonna to partner the young Diop and stake his claim to remain at centre-half when Balbuena does return to fitness. Hammers will be hoping the ex-Italy international’s run of improved displays continues in east London.
LB: Ben Johnson
We’re predicting 19-year-old full-back Ben Johnson to also keep his starting spot after an unexpected senior debut on Wednesday evening. This would be just his second senior appearance and just the third time he’s made a first-team matchday squad. But with Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku set to remain sidelined, Pellegrini has few other options.
RCDM: Mark Noble (C)
As we move into the midfield-two protecting the defence, on the right side we see club captain Mark Noble. The 31-year-old making his 24th appearance of the campaign will be hoping to impress his idol Billy Bonds, who will have the East Stand of London Stadium named after him in a special ceremony before kick-off.
LCDM: Declan Rice
Fresh from another superb showing two days ago and being crowned Young Player of the Year at the London Football Awards on Thursday night, Declan Rice will be riding high on confidence partnering his skipper in defensive midfield. This will be another chance for him to impress Gareth Southgate ahead of the March internationals.
RAM: Michail Antonio
As we look further forward and at the trio of attacking midfielders we’re predicting Pellegrini to line up with, one of the first names on the teamsheet at present, Michail Antonio, pops up. The former England man has two goals and one assist in his last four matches, including two-in-two at home, and will be a real one to watch for Newcastle.
CAM: Manuel Lanzini
Making his first start since May 2018 for the East Londoners following full recovery from his ACL injury sustained in the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, will be Manuel Lanzini. It seems like the perfect opportunity for ‘The Jewel’ to return to the starting Xl in his preferred number ten role.
LAM: Felipe Anderson
Felipe Anderson has not missed a Premier League game in his debut season so far and that won’t change tomorrow. Despite finding the net just once so far in 2019, the club-record signing’s form in 2018/2019 has earnt him a Brazil call-up for the first time in three years and he could become the first West Ham player to represent the nation soon.
ST: Javier Hernandez
Playing in the lone striker role he’s had to get used to in recent weeks, Javier Hernandez wasn’t risked in midweek and therefore, will be fresh to start this match in the absence of unwell Marko Arnautovic. Chicharito has recent happy memories against this opposition, only needing to draw on his double at St. James’ Park in the Irons’ 1-3 triumph in early December for inspiration.
Pellegrini reverted to his preferred 4-2-3-1 system for the trip to former club Man City and we see no reason why he would abandon the system he’s tried to use at every opportunity in his first campaign in east London for this encounter. It will be interesting to see how this formation fares against the winning 5-2-2-1 formula that Benitez’s Toon have found in recent times.
So, now that you’ve heard how Pellegrini’s West Ham will line up for tomorrow evening’s Newcastle United visit to London Stadium in Sky Sports’ live Saturday night match. All that’s left to do is wait and find out whether our predicted starting team will come to fruition in Stratford!
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