West Ham welcome Norwich City to London Stadium on Saturday and the Hammers will be optimistic of securing all three points against the Canaries.
The visitors, however, will have ambitions of their own after collecting three points thus far. Defeats against Liverpool and Chelsea emitted plenty of positive signs and an impressive victory over Newcastle United proved what dangers they possess.
Last season the Irons struggled to gather any early momentum, losing their opening four Premier League matches – amassing zero points in August. This time around seems to be a different story, though, and with a chance to end the month with seven points with victory over Norwich, we can expect an attacking, exciting affair at London Stadium.
Pellegrini was dealt a huge blow in midweek after in-form Michail Antonio sustained a hamstring injury. With that in mind, how can we expect the Hammers to line-up against Daniel Farke’s side on Saturday?
Roberto put in a fine performance between the sticks against Newport County but Fabianski remains the number one pick.
Pablo Zabaleta came in for Fredericks for the midweek Carabao Cup win, but you would expect the 34-year-old to make way once again.
The England right-back was a little shaky against Watford but is slowly establishing himself in the Premier League.
Diop was the only one to keep his spot in the starting XI for the trip to Rodney Parade and with the lack of centre-back options at Pellegrini’s disposal, it would be surprising to see the Frenchman miss out.
After Fabian Balbuena started in South Wales and helped maintain the Hammers’ first clean sheet of the season, there is an argument for the Paraguay international to retain his spot in the starting XI on Saturday.
However, Ogbonna was part of the back four that granted the Irons with their first Premier League three points of the campaign, and I do not think Pellegrini will change it.
Masuaku was another who was rested midweek and the DR Congo international has been excellent so far this season.
With Aaron Cresswell’s sub-par performances, we can expect to see Masuaku starting for quite some time.
Rice has become an essential part of Pellegrini’s operation and, as always, remains one of the first names on the team sheet.
The return of the Hammers skipper played a massive part in helping West Ham secure their first win of the season against the Hornets, and his impact on the squad is massively overrated.
He might be ageing, but keeping him away from the starting XI is pretty difficult and I expect he will start on Saturday.
The 26-year-old England midfielder was absent from the Irons squad entirely for their trip to Vicarage Road but returned and put in a Man of the Match performance against Newport on Tuesday night.
With such an impressive display, I am edging towards Pellegrini playing three in midfield, with Wilshere given more freedom going forwards – and that is his where we will see the best of him.
Lanzini has been the best performer in a Claret and Blue shirt in the 2019/20 campaign thus far and he is certainly demonstrating what an exceptional talent he is.
For me, he is the most talented footballer we have had at the club (with the exception of Dimitri Payet) for some while and he will be instrumental to helping us achieve a European spot.
For this match, I expect him to operate on the left-hand side of midfield.
The Brazilian was rushed into action midweek after Antonio’s sixth-minute injury, and we could depend on his flair and creativity to unlock Norwich’s defence on Saturday.
If Pellegrini opts to play three in midfield with Lanzini operating on the left flank, that would push Anderson onto the right – a position I think he can be just as effective in.
Haller grabbed a brace against Watford last weekend and, overall, put in a solid display.
We are still yet to see the best of the France centre-forward, but one thing he guarantees is goals and what an exciting talent we have on our books.