Fresh from their Carabao Cup Round Four defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in midweek, Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United will go in search for their first win in four games in all competitions, when they welcome Sean Dyche’s Burnley to London Stadium in the Premier League later today.
With their injury list now nearing double-figures despite two notable returns and captain Mark Noble serving the second match of his three-game suspension for his red card away at Leicester City seven days ago, it will be interesting to see how the Hammers line up. Just hours ahead of kick-off in East London, we are going to predict, join us.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski
Perhaps the easiest position to predict in the Irons’ starting Xl is the goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, with his deputy Adrian San-Miguel failing to impress against Spurs three days ago. Interestingly, he is tied with the man that will be his opposite number this afternoon, ex-Hammer Joe Hart, on the most saves in the PL this season, with 44.
No ‘keepers have made more saves this #PL season than @WestHamUtd’s Lukasz Fabianski or @BurnleyOfficial’s Joe Hart (44 each) ?#WHUBUR pic.twitter.com/0RndzKXUWV
— Premier League (@premierleague) 3 November 2018
RB: Pablo Zabaleta
After a well-earned rest on Wednesday evening, Pablo Zabaleta, having surprisingly kept new signing Ryan Fredericks out of the starting Xl this term, will be raring to go. The veteran has started seven of the ten league games ahead of his new teammate and when fit, is always one of the first names on the teamsheet.
RCB: Fabian Balbuena
While it would have done the 28-year-old some good to get some rest himself against Tottenham in what is a three-match week for the Hammers, the decision to leave Fabian Balbuena out on Wednesday was partly blamed for the result. Angelo Ogbonna simply crumbled while filling in for him, and the Claret & Blue Army will be delighted to see ‘The General’ back today when he starts, on the back of his first goal for the club last weekend.
LCB: Issa Diop
Alongside the Paraguayan International will be French youngster Issa Diop, who did play in midweek, as the pair will undoubtedly renew what has been a formidable partnership in its maiden term. As a pairing, Balbuena and Diop haven’t conceded more than one goal in a game since August, but are still frantically searching for a second clean sheet together.
LB: Ryan Fredericks
The question of the player who plays in this position in Stratford is the one most up for debate in our predicted Xl. Left-backs Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell are both injury doubts for this match, we are not expecting them to make it and coming off an impressive display in midweek, we are tipping Fredericks for just his fourth Premier League start, in the unfamiliar left-back role.
RCDM: Pedro Obiang
Returning to Premier League duties after the calf injury that kept him out of the Spurs and Foxes league clashes will be midfielder Pedro Obiang. With a full 97 minutes under his belt from three days ago, there is little doubt that he will start on the right of a defensive midfield three.
CDM: Declan Rice
In the centre of midfield, holding the three together and sternly guarding his defence, we have reached another of the first names on the teamsheet for Pellegrini, the youngest player in our predicted team, Declan Rice. He has started every PL game since the September International break and that won’t change today.
LCDM: Robert Snodgrass
Rounding off the midfield three on the left is the only player to have featured in every game in every competition under Pellegrini this campaign, Scottish International Robert Snodgrass. He has benefitted from injuries and suspensions to regain his starting place and impress in recent weeks, the 30-year-old will be fresher after only playing 45 minutes in the cup.
RF: Grady Diangana
As we move higher up the pitch and reach the trademark front three for West Ham, we reach a player on the back of his first full game at senior level on Wednesday evening, another youngster in Grady Diangana. Should he start, which he will without a shadow of doubt, the impressive wide man will be making three first-team starts in a row for the first time.
ST: Marko Arnautovic (C)
The biggest new addition to this starting Xl is danger man and the player that will skipper the side against the challenge of the Lancashire opponents, Marko Arnautovic. After an illness kept him out of the starting team on Saturday and Wednesday and Pellegrini provided a positive update on him yesterday, he will be as hungry as ever to improve on his tally of four club goals in 2018/2019, so far.
LF: Felipe Anderson
Unlike any other player in our predicted starting team, it could well be the last chance saloon in terms of club-record signing Felipe Anderson’s permanent place in the Irons starting Xl. His manager this week admitted that no one has been happy with his recent performances, and he needs to improve following four below-par displays.
After not wavering from his trusty modified 4-3-3 formation despite making five changes in midweek, don’t expect Pellegrini to change anything formation-wise as he goes back to his strongest Xl in the league. He has used this formation since September and led the Hammers’ to a season-high league position of 13th with it.
So, now that you’ve heard our West Ham predicted starting Xl for today’s Burnley encounter, which includes five changes from the Spurs loss, we want to hear yours! Head over to our Twitter page @WestHamMatters_ to send us your predicted starting Xl for the vital game and have your say on everything Hammers-related.