Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United will be looking to go four games unbeaten at London Stadium this afternoon when they welcome fierce London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, under Mauricio Pochettino, in the Premier League at 3 PM.
Just hours ahead of kick-off and with the help of our friends over at footballfancast.com, we are going to give you the West Ham lowdown on the match, including all the latest team news, match facts and lineup and formation predictions, join us.
As the above graphic, provided by FootballFanCast, tells us, Pellegrini has a number of injury worries ahead of the vital derby clash, some serious and some not-so-serious.
While the story is no different for his opposite number in Pochettino, it will be a blow to the Irons if the three doubts in the image, Robert Snodgrass, Arthur Masuaku and Javier Hernandez miss out.
Snodgrass and Masuaku, whose ankle injuries cut short their International breaks with Scotland and the Democratic Republic of Congo, respectively, are set to make the squad, but may face late fitness tests.
Meanwhile, it’s understood that Chicharito has recovered from a nasty bout of glandular fever and is expected to feature in some capacity on what is set to be an atmospheric afternoon at London Stadium.
Marko Arnautovic, however, not included in the list of doubts, was seen limping in a video on the club’s official Twitter account yesterday afternoon, putting his fitness into question after being declared fit, having played through the pain barrier of a knee injury in recent weeks.
Arnautovic: Nobes, how much to hit the crossbar from here?
*volleys from halfway line*
Noble: Oh my lord! pic.twitter.com/s2t1Z6LGOB
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) 19 October 2018
Five men we certainly won’t be seeing in action in East London are long-term Hammers injury doubts Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll, the first four of which we’re unlikely to see in Claret & Blue before the new year.
The two key match facts that are outlined in the FFC graphic are positive ones if you are in the Hammers camp, ones that will give members of the Claret & Blue Army a glimmer of hope against opposition ten places above them in fifth in the PL table.
While the in-form Spurs do appear to be the better team on paper, with a side packed full of Internationals, real quality and strength-in-depth, there is one statistic from the image that will hold the hosts in good stead.
Against no team do the East Londoners have more Premier League wins than Tottenham, achieving victory over the North London outfit on 14 occasions, a number that has also been registered in clashes with Southampton over the years.
So, this means that with three points on home soil later today, not only would Pellegrini’s men climb up into mid-table and away from danger, Spurs would also officially become their favourite Top-Flight opposition, a feat fans will be eager to achieve, for bragging rights sake.
One man that may just help them do this is the aforementioned Arnautovic, if he is fit. Ass well as being the club’s highest scorer in the league this campaign with four goals and an impressive 15 for the year, he is also the joint-top leading goalscorer at London Stadium.
He shares this accolade with Lanzini, who is unlikely to feature until early 2019 after rupturing his ACL whilst away with the Argentine national team, in the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and will be keen to break free of one of his partners in crime, claiming that elusive ninth home goal and scoring against Tottenham for the first time in his career.
Starting Xl And Formation
For the final stage of our pre-match analysis of the Hammers, we are going to take an in-depth look at the predicted starting Xl and formation from our FFF colleagues.
In goal, no doubt, will be arguably the pick of the summer signings so far in East London, Poland International goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, fresh from representing his nation over the International break.
At right-back in a back-four will be veteran Pablo Zabaleta, continuing to keep new man Ryan Fredericks out of the team, alongside the tried and tested but also emerging centre-back partnership of Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop. Should Masuaku be unfit or not picked to start at left-back, Aaron Cresswell will be waiting to fill in.
Protecting that backline, Academy of Football product Declan Rice, with fellow central midfielders, captain Mark Noble and Spaniard Pedro Obiang, just ahead of him within the midfield three.
They will all be supporting what is becoming a staple front three and one with enough about them to strike fear into any defence, club-record signing Felipe Anderson is on the right, with former Borussia Dortmund star Andriy Yarmolenko on the left, the main man Arnautovic leads the line.
It will be intriguing to see how this modified 4-3-3 formation of Pellegrini with the players in it that are said to form his strongest possible starting Xl, gets on against the formidable 4-2-3-1 of Pochettino’s visitors. The encounter will be as much of a tactical battle as it will a gritty London derby.
In conclusion, all seems to be well in the main for the Hammers as they prepare for what is always one of the biggest matches on both team’s calendars, one that both are desperate to win.
Despite losing to Brighton & Hove Albion in the last game before the break, confidence will still be running high in East London and West Ham will fancy themselves no matter how strong the opposition are, backed by a sold-out London Stadium and the magic that always seems to be on the air when these two traditional outfits meet.