If the season hadn’t been eventful enough up to now, events over the past 36 hours or so have further added to the woes 2016/17 is bringing us.
The news that Dimitri Payet has effectively gone on strike in order to orchestrate a move away from the club shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – he has history of behaving this way throughout his career – but the manner in which he has behave has left everyone feeling betrayed, upset and angry.
None more so than Slaven Bilic, who looked visibly broken when he announced the news about Payet’s behaviour to the media during his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning.
However, as Bilic quite rightly said, he has a team to manage, and he knows nothing less than victory against Crystal Palace will be acceptable this weekend. His job is still on the line here, though his handling of the Payet situation reinforces the popular opinion that he can succeed at West Ham.
So how does he approach this game? Manuel Lanzini will undoubtedly be the man he turns to to fill the void left by Payet, which then frees up a space out wide for a player most suited at playing there.
Does Feghouli start again? He has looked impressive in the last two games he has played, while Edimilson Fernandes must be throwing his hat in the ring for a change to show what he can do from wide.
It could be said that the side will be better off without Payet in the side as it’ll allow Bilic to be less restricted in picking key players because he no longer needs to force the Frenchman in to his XI. Either way, the side picks on Saturday will need to be bang on and will be required to give absolutely everything to the cause.
Here’s how we think Bilic should line-up…