West Ham take a trip down to the south coast this weekend as they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium – but can we expect to see any changes to the starting XI?
Summer signing Sebastien Haller impressed on his Premier League debut while Pablo Fornals was briefly introduced in the second half and made less of an impact.
With one game played, Manuel Pellegrini’s side lay at the foot of the table; a reoccurring theme over the last three seasons. However, there will be ample opportunities to exhibit the free-flowing, successful football everyone knows they can produce and the fans will be hoping that starts on Saturday.
After last week’s result made for disappointing reading, how can we expect the Hammers to line-up against Brighton?
Despite conceding five goals at the weekend, Fabianski remains our solid number one and is extremely unlikely to be replaced for the trip to Brighton.
I thought Fredericks put in a decent performance on Saturday but his end product from crossing areas was extremely disappointing – however, I do expect him to start.
Balbuena was disappointing against City and looked off the pace. It is early days, however, and the Paraguay international will keep his place this weekend.
The France centre-back was very sloppy and made a few individual mistakes throughout the 90-minute period.
He remains the best defensive option, though, and it is difficult to keep him out of the starting XI having demonstrated what he is capable of last season.
Aaron Cresswell put in an extremely unconvincing performance against Pep Guardiola’s side and although he captained the Hammers, he is the most likely candidate to be replaced.
Masuaku recently penned down a new long-term contract and the Irons faithful will expect to see him start for this clash.
There is no player that currently rivals Rice for the defensive midfielder position and he remains one of the first names on the team sheet.
Wilshere participated in 56 minutes of the action against City but failed to replicate the pre-season form we have seen this summer.
However, with the more appetising task of Brighton this Saturday, we could see the best of the England midfielder and I suspect he will start proceedings and captain the side.
Lanzini received a bunch of criticism from the fans after Saturday’s performance but I felt it was rather unnecessary.
Yes he did lose possession of the ball on multiple occasions, but he looked our most dangerous attacking option and with solid pre-season form, I expect him to start against Brighton.
Michail Antonio produced a solid first-half display against the Premier League champions but was substituted for Fornals at the half-time interval.
For me, Antonio looked unfit and was failing to track back – Fornals will come in this weekend and play a central role to link with Haller, while Lanzini will switch out to the left.
Anderson was very quiet on Saturday and will be desperate to grab an early goal in the 2019/20 campaign this weekend.
I expect him to play on the right-hand side, though the attacking trio of Fornals, Lanzini and Anderson will interchange throughout and will offer an attacking outlet out wide.
Haller was extremely impressive on his debut despite failing to get on the scoresheet.
His link-up play in the first half (when he had support) was excellent and I would not be surprised to see him score his first Premier League goal against the Seagulls on Saturday.