Date: 13th September 2018 at 4:39pm
Written by:

OPINION

Manuel Pellegrini has a golden opportunity to guide West Ham to their first points of the season when they take on Everton on Sunday but he has to get his team selection right.

The Toffees are looking rather depleted ahead of Sunday’s meeting as the Liverpool Echo report that Marco Silva could be without up to eight players due to injury concerns plus he will also be missing Brazilian attacker Richarlison.

This means that Hammers could potentially be playing the Toffees at an ideal time and could hand Silva his first defeat of the season as long as they perform better than in their last outing against Wolves.

Pellegrini must look to axe Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell as well as Carlos Sanchez from the team that started the game against Wolves as all three let their side down.

The trio were among the worst performers on the pitch which is quite an achievement when you consider how bad the Hammers’ overall display was.

Replacing Cresswell should be an easy decision for Pellegrini as with Arthur Masuaku back in training (Snapped by West Ham News on Twitter) after missing the Wolves clash due to injury, then the Hammers boss must look to put him straight back in the starting line-up.

It is a harder decision for Pellegrini when choosing who to replace Antonio and Sanchez with in his line-up as he does have options to choose from.

However the Hammers boss must give his side the best chance by playing Declan Rice in midfield in place of Sanchez as the teenager always gives his all for the club and will no doubt be eager to make up for his terrible display against Liverpool in the opening weekend of the campaign.

Then the Hammers manager must gamble on Andriy Yarmolenko being fit enough to feature as it would be a wonderful boost for the team if he was able to reestablish his partnership with Ryan Fredericks down the right-flank as it looked promising in pre-season.

There should be doubts about Yarmolenko’s fitness as he didn’t look fully fit for Ukraine during the international break but it’s worth taking a risk on him.

The winger’s partnership with Fredericks looked like being a winning formula during the pre-season friendly with Preston North End and the pair could help each other weave their way into supporters’ hearts by helping each other excel.

As for the rest of Pellegrini’s side, he must leave his central defensive pairing, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop, as well as Fabianski in his line-up as the trio were the only ones who could hold their heads up high after the defeat to Wolves.

Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic must all be kept in the team after starting against Wolves, even though all four players have had a mixed start to the campaign and have only shown glimpses of their talents so far.

Robert Snodgrass must also be kept in the team though he switches over to the left-flank to accommodate the Yarmolenko-Fredericks connection as he has been one of the club’s standout performers so far.