The Hammers’ captain has praised the impact that Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals have both had in training and friendlies and believes they will help in causing problems to any opposition in the top-flight.
“Pablo is similar to Manu in that he has a low centre of gravity, he’s good on the ball, can see a pass and score a goal. Seb is good in the air, he has good feet and hopefully, he can be our 20-goal-a-season man for us. We’re at home, the atmosphere will be great, it’s an early kick-off and we will cause them problems, I am sure of that.”
Both Fornals and Haller have hit the ground running in pre-season, and if Manuel Pellegrini’s team sheets in the offseason are anything to go by, both will start against Man City.
The Spaniard, Fornals, has already created a link with Manuel Lanzini, with the two smaller creative midfielders already becoming a handful for opposition defences – which has seen Haller capitalise with his strength in and around the box to create chances.
Despite the fact that Noble himself is missing from the opener against City, he is more than confident that his team can secure the three points against the fearsome champions. West Ham haven’t had the best of luck against Pep Guardiola’s men in recent seasons, conceding 12 goals against them in their previous four fixtures – something Noble is expecting to change with the introduction of their new signings. The link between Fornals, Lanzini, and Felipe Anderson in behind Haller is a combination that will be vital to their success on Saturday, as all four men must disrupt City’s flow and not allow them to get comfortable on or off the ball. Despite their big roles, some of the Hammers’ players that have been there for longer than just pre-season will be more important, with the likes of Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena surely needing to have one of the games of their lives to prevent the likes of Raheem Sterling from having a say on the contest. Yes, Noble is right to suggest that the Hammers’ new signings will give them something else to think about come Saturday’s opener, but maybe it’s his defence that will have a bigger say on where the points will end up after 90 minutes.