West Ham face a rampant Chelsea on Monday, in a game which has ramifications for both sides.
Our visitors could go a long way to securing the Premier League title with a win, while a West Ham loss could see us drop down as far as 13th place.
While Chelsea have won 17 of their previous 20 league games, Slaven Bilic would be wise to remind his players that the 2-1 win over the Blues in the EFL Cup was one of our finest performances this season season.
We started fast and hard, with Cheikhou Kouyate scoring a tremendous header from 15 yards after only 11 minutes. We played very well in that first half, and the second half had hardly begun when Edimilson Fernandes hit a beautiful left-footed shot into the corner of the net from outside of the area to double the lead; a rare demonstration of the importance of gaining the upper tempo in the early stages of play.
For this all-important encounter, I have chosen the strongest formation and player selection capable of pulling off a unexpected victory.
The employment of a strong and well organised 4-4-2 formation (below), where Kouyate is restored to the midfield, adds solidity and strength next to Pedro Obiang, who has been in sensational form in recent games.
It is time that Sam Byram is allowed to play in the right-back-role, where he can join the midfield and attack out wide, in much the same manner as Aaron Cresswell does on the left. Moving Kouyate into midfield allows him to make strong runs through central channels when not required for defensive duties.
The ability of Cresswell and Byram to make over-lapping runs provides additional attacking options to those provided by Lanzini and Feghouli or Snodgrass. These alterations allow us to contribute up to six or seven attacking players, while putting at least six players back into defence when required.
In the absence of the suspended Antonio, I have chosen the pacey Andre Ayew to partner Andy Carroll up front. If Chelsea has one weakness, it is a slight lack of pace and acceleration in defence. The likes of Cresswell, Byram, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Lanzini and Ayew are capable of exerting early and continuous pressure on the Chelsea back three, thus making clearances more difficult.
If possession can be confined to the back Chelsea third, it could markedly reduce the potency of Chelsea attackers.
The obvious deletion in this setup is leaving Mark Noble on the bench. However, in such a difficult and important game, I feel that Kouyate and Obiang offer some additional strength to the pairing of Obiang and Noble. The inclusion of Kouyate in midfield adds further potency in set-pieces, too.
The additional height of Kouyate makes him difficult to effectively mark from corners or free-kicks. Once again, I advocate the central positioning of Lanzini as our attacking playmaker, where he creates a constant threat to an unsuspecting defence.