Manuel Pellegrini is hoping to play both Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini in the same line-up, according to ExWHUEmployee.

This has caused some confusion though, as with the pair being so similar in style it can be difficult to see how balance can be maintained while getting the most out of the pair.

They are both small players who are creative on the ball – with Fornals standing at 178cm and Lanzini 167cm tall.

Here are two suggestions for how they can both be included in the line-up, along with who could find themselves slightly compromised to fit them both in:


Manuel Pellegrini has used the 4-3-3 plenty of times in the past, so he could be tempted to implement it again.

In this scenario, Declan Rice would be the main defensive shield in the midfield, with Fornals and Lanzini both operating ahead of him.

The England international is known for making stellar defensive contributions, having made an average of 2.9 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 1.6 clearances and 0.4 blocks per Premier League game last season, according to WhoScored.

However, he would often have someone such as Mark Noble alongside him to help with the defensive burden in midfield, though that wouldn’t be the case to the same extent with Fornals and Lanzini alongside him.

This could see West Ham ship more goals – having already conceded 55 times last season – though they would likely also score more, with five players on the pitch whose main focus would be attacking.

There will likely be plenty of goals in West Ham games if this system is deployed.


This option would give a little bit more defensive cover than the first one, as it means someone would be played alongside Rice.

In this system, Lanzini and Fornals would be able to float around as the pair in attacking midfield, interchanging in a way which would bring fluidity to West Ham’s play.

Being one of the Hammers’ best players, it is obvious that Pellegrini would be reluctant to leave out Felipe Anderson, so he could play him as a striker.

There is no way Anderson would be effective up front on his own, though this could possibly work with him being accompanied by a more traditional partner who he can play off.

Anderson has shown a predatory instinct – with his goals against Manchester United acting as examples – and has also been clinical in front of goal, scoring 10 times last season, which shows he does have the finishing ability to play as a striker.

Also, just because he is acting as a striker doesn’t mean he would need to rigidly stay up top, the role would offer him the freedom to drift around where he feels he can impact the play.

The Brazilian has impressed in central areas in the past, such as during his time with Lazio, so could do it again.

This system would take a bit of experimentation and could take a little while to implement, but would likely be successful in getting the best out of Fornals and Lanzini.