West Ham predicted line-up vs Chelsea: will James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez make their debuts?
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West Ham will be bidding to record their first win of the new Premier League campaign when they host Mauricio Pochettino’s new look Chelsea side on Sunday afternoon. The Hammers had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth in their season curtain-raiser last weekend, with Dominic Solanke’s late strike cancelling out Jarrod Bowen’s opener to share the spoils and crash their party.
Since then, the Irons have confirmed the arrival of midfield duo Edson Alvarez and James Ward-Prowse, and their transfer window finally looks to be building up a head of steam. But will either of those new acquisitions feature against the Blues, and what other changes, if any, will David Moyes make to his starting XI?
Check out our full predicted line-up below...
West Ham lined up in a 4-2-3-1 last weekend against Bournemouth, and there’s no reason to be believe that there will be any kind of seismic change when Chelsea visit on Sunday afternoon. A solid back four is likely to be the order of the day, with a hard-working double pivot in the engine room and plenty of support from a more advanced trio in behind a lone striker.
Moyes appears to have made his choice this season, and it looks as if Alphonse Areola is likely to be West Ham’s number one goalkeeper going forward, no doubt to the delight of Fantasy Premier League players looking for a bargain stopper. The Frenchman has seemingly been given the nod over Lukasz Fabianski, and should continue between the sticks against Chelsea - much to the chagrin of the veteran Pole who has admitted that he took the news of his demotion ‘awfully’.
While the hunt for a new centre-back drags on following the collapse of a move for Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd are likely to persist in the heart of defence, with Thilo Kehrer starting last week’s draw with Bournemouth on the bench.
At full-back Vladimir Coufal is the most probable candidate to slot in on the right, while Emerson Palmieri, who picked up a booking against the Cherries, should continue on the opposite flank to complete an unchanged back four.
The two big questions in midfield are whether new signings James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez will feature. In the case of the former, a debut could well be on the cards, but while the latter could make an appearance, he is unlikely to star after only training sporadically prior to his exit from Ajax.
If Ward-Prowse does get the nod, he may well come into the side ahead of Lucas Paqueta, who continues to face mounting speculation over his future amid interest from Manchester City. The Brazilian partnered Tomas Soucek in the centre of the park last week, and the imposing Czech should start against Chelsea.
Out wide, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma will probably provide their usual mix of directness and creative flair, with Pablo Fornals operating in the number 10 role just behind a lone striker.
And that striker is likely to be Michail Antonio. Despite being heavily touted for an exit this summer, the 33-year-old started against Bournemouth, and could be trusted to lead the line against Chelsea too. His busy, relentless brand of physicality is enough to cause ay defence a headache on its day, and don’t be surprised to see Moyes opt for him again here over Danny Ings.
Meanwhile, in the background, widespread reports would seem to suggest that the Hammers are still on the lookout for more attacking reinforcements before the end of the window.
Full Predicted XI
Alphonse Areola; Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Emerson Palmieri; Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse, Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen; Michail Antonio.