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West Ham’s likely XI vs Liverpool: Wilshere, Anderson & Diop debuts

There are plenty of new faces in east London.



Photo: Getty Images

West Ham commence their Premier League campaign with a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday in Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge.

The Hammers were one of the busiest clubs in the transfer window this summer, bringing in nine new faces to their senior squad – including two Deadline Day acquisitions in Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez, although both of whom are not expected to start on Merseyside.

There is, however, a number of players lined-up to make their debuts as we have identified the likely line-up selected by Pellegrini.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Goalkeeper – Fabianski

Signed from relegated Swansea City, Lukasz Fabianski arrives at West Ham as the new first-choice stopper for the Hammers and is likely to slot straight into the side for the trip to face Liverpool – where he could be kept very busy.

Despite being relegated last term, the Poland international was one of the stand-out performances for the south Wales side and he would still be a capable stopper for a number of bigger Premier League sides, which means the Hammers have pulled off a real coup.

(Photo by West Ham United via Getty Images)

Defence – Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell

Veteran defender Pablo Zabaleta will face competition for his spot on the right-side this season from Ryan Fredericks, signed on a free transfer from Fulham, but Pellegrini is likely to choose experience up against Liverpool’s devastating attacking options.

The signings of Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena have given Angelo Ogbonna plenty of competition for his spot in the heart of defence but he is expected to get the nod after missing just six Premier League matches last season, with new 21-year-old recruit Issa Diop playing alongside him.

Speculation suggested that West Ham could have looked to land a new left-back this summer but that proved not to be the case, with Aaron Cresswell instead set to be first-choice this season down the flank ahead of Arthur Masuaku in the pecking order.

(Photo by West Ham United FC/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Midfield – Obiang, Noble, Wilshere

Still heavily linked with a move to Sampdoria, West Ham lack depth in central midfield and must surely retain the services of Pedro Obiang. The midfielder featured 21 times for the Hammers last season, scoring two goals.

West Ham’s experienced captain may have seen his long-term replacement signed this summer in compatriot Jack Wilshere but the first campaign under Pellegrini will see Mark Noble partner the new recruit in the heart of midfield.

After years struggling with injury and being overlooked for the World Cup in Russia, Jack Wilshere arrives at West Ham with plenty to prove and is likely to be one of the first names on Manuel Pellegrini’s team-sheet this season – as long as he remains fit.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Attack – Yarmolenko, Anderson, Arnautovic

West Ham secured a significant coup in landing Andriy Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund and, despite the Ukraine international carrying a slight knock, he is expected to get the nod on the right-flank of an attacking trio.

On the opposing side, West Ham have two options as they could utilise Marko Arnautovic in his natural position or call upon Felipe Anderson.  West Ham’s new club-record signing arrives from Lazio with plenty of expectation but that should perhaps be limited, as he scored just four goals in Serie A last year.

Still, the Brazilian provides a creative hub after registering seven assists in his final campaign in Rome and could forge a deadly trio alongside Arnautovic and Anderson.

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West Ham United

Three key takeaways from Pellegrini’s West Ham press conference

The Hammers are looking for a result after defeat last weekend.



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Manuel Pellegrini takes charge of his first West Ham home match this weekend, with the Hammers welcoming Bournemouth to the London Stadium.

The east London side were dismantled by Liverpool on the opening weekend, suffering a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool that left the heavy-spenders rooted to the bottom of the Premier League at the very, very early stage of the campaign.

Improvements are needed for the hosting of Bournemouth, who beat Cardiff City last weekend, and we have identified three key takeaways from Pellegrini’s pre-match press conference.

Injury update

West Ham need all the good news they can get their hands on after last week’s mauling at the hands of Liverpool and Manuel Pellegrini has provided that. While his comments are as you expect, naming the three long-term absentees, it’s what he doesn’t say that is interesting.

Fans will notice that Aaron Cresswell is not mentioned, suggesting that the experienced full-back will be available for selection after not being risked for the defeat to Liverpool due to fitness concerns – and he could therefore come into the side to replace Arthur Masuaku.

“We have no new injury news. The same three players – Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini are still out, but all the others are OK.”

Howe praise

Eddie Howe became the darling of English football after he led Bournemouth to the Premier League and kept the Cherries in the top-flight. While that love affair may have come to a close, with the club crashing back down to earth, he still earns plenty of praise.

Pellegrini has spoken highly of his competitor ahead of the hosting of Bournemouth and he may need to be careful, as Howe is the sort of manager West Ham should probably look towards if things do not work out well under the Chilean boss.

“Eddie Howe has done very well. He’s a very good manager and keeping them in the Premier League in that first season was a very good job. They have been there a number of years now and he’s doing very well.”

Fan patience

Asking fans to be patient is usually the kiss of depth and Manuel Pellegrini avoided using those specific words during his pre-match press conference. However, he did make it clear that it will take time for the dust to settle after a frantic summer window.

Fans will want a positive result at the London Stadium this weekend but the Hammers enter the match with a newly assembled squad still learning the ropes, many of whom are in the Premier League for the first time, while the majority of Bournemouth’s squad is well accustomed to the rigours of English football – many of whom have been with the club for a while.

“I hope our fans can understand that this is our first game at home but we are continuing to work with the squad. I don’t think we will have any problem with the fans.”

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West Ham round-up: Carroll update, Silva shines & Spurs stadium share

A selection of news and gossip from West Ham.



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Christmas Carroll

In an update that cues the most obvious pun in the history of football, Claret & Hugh state that forgotten striker Andy Carroll is expected to return to first-team action before the festive season – ahead of defender Winston Reid.

Carroll’s latest injury setback may have seen him tumble down the pecking order at the club as Manuel Pellegrini moved to sign Felipe Anderson and Lucas Perez in the transfer window, both of whom could play centrally as an alternative to Javier Hernandez.

It is positive for the Hammers though, as Carroll returning before January means there is a chance he could be offloaded in the mid-season window.

Spurs at the London Stadium

In what could be the most least popular pieces of news to ever break in east London, understand that Tottenham Hotspur have requested to play their clash against Manchester City on 28th October at West Ham‘s stadium.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Lilywhites’ planned move to a new stadium has proven to be a shambles, with delays meaning that Spurs will have to remain at Wembley for longer than initially planned – with home clashes against Liverpool and Cardiff City being moved to the home of English football, as well as the NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders.

Given all the technicalities in West Ham’s agreement with the stadium, they do not actually own the ground and it is not their decision on what happens with Spurs. However, they would at least have to give their consent.

Silva lining

With all the summer deals that went on concerning West Ham, one that slipped under the radar for many was the capture of 21-year-old Portuguese striker Xande Silva – who has proven to be an instant hit in east London.

Making his debut for the U23 side this week, Silva netted a six-minute hat-trick to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Tottenham and helped his side secure a 3-1 win. That has naturally led to plenty of praise for the young forward, including from academy chief Terry Westley.

“He is a very powerful striker and he will be given the season to settle in  – it’s down to him what sort of impact he can make at the higher level but he has made a seriously good start. Fair to say we really like the look of him!”

– Westley praised Silva in comments made to Claret & Hugh.

Eyes on Azah

The transfer window may be closed but that does not mean West Ham’s activity in the market is over, as the Hammers are named as one of many sides interested in the services of Irish youngster Elvis Azah by The Daily Mail.

Azah caught the eye after spending pre-season with Cardiff City, scoring in a U18 match against West Ham, and is also being chased by Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool after earning Irish citizenship – enabling him to move to England.

Born in Ghana, the 17-year-old winger is capable of playing on either flank or in a more advanced central role.

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Pellegrini would be making a mistake dropping Rice for Sanchez

The youngster should be one of the first names on the teamsheet.



Photo: Getty Images

West Ham‘s spell under Manuel Pellegrini did not get off to the best of starts on Sunday and Declan Rice could suffer as a result.

The Hammers were torn apart by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in a 4-0 defeat, with Pellegrini’s squad full of new recruits struggling to hit their top gear at Anfield.

The Chilean boss spent heavily in the summer to rejuvenate his squad at the London Stadium and further changes to his side are expected ahead of this weekend’s hosting of Bournemouth, as he seeks to secure a first win with the club.

(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

However, it is concerning that reports from Claret & Hugh suggest that Pellegrini is mulling over dropping Declan Rice for Carlos Sanchez, who was signed from Fiorentina last week for a fee of £4m – a decision that could have lasting consequences that the club will be desperate to avoid.

19-year-old Rice was one of few shining lights for the Hammers in last season’s disappointing campaign, earning 26 Premier League appearances in his breakthrough year and showing signs that he could become a long-term asset for the club.

Now capped at senior level for the Republic of Ireland, Rice will be looking for continued first-team opportunities to help him cement his spot in Martin O’Niell’s side for the long-term and being dropped for a new recruit could be damaging.

“It’s a new manager coming in and I think everyone has got a fresh start under him. I can’t wait to show him what I’m about and what I can do. I played 32 or 33 times last year and I want to carry on this year. I want to keep playing games and keep improving and learning.”

– Rice made his plans for the season clear in July.

Rice has already seen competition for a spot in the heart of the defence increase significantly following the signings of Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop but his versatility proved to be decisive last weekend, as he started the game at Anfield.

Visibly furious to be subbed off at half-time, West Ham need to be very careful with the situation as they have been unable to agree on a new long-term deal with Rice despite negotiations taking place throughout the summer.

With his current deal expiring next summer, Rice could continue to snub new offers if he does not continue to earn first-team opportunities and it would see the young defender become the latest in a long line of Hammers starlets to seek a move elsewhere.

Pellegrini’s side were already forced to offload Domingos Quina to Premier League rivals Watford last week after the Portuguese ace entered the final year of his deal, and Reece Oxford is widely linked with a move abroad after impressing on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach last season.

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