Match Preview: SCR Altach vs West Ham United 

Author: . Published: at 11:04pm

We get our pre-season campaign underway with a game vs Austrian Bundesliga side SCR Altach. It’s a first chance of the season for players to impress Pellegrini and look to gain a place in his plans for the upcoming season.

Proving a point will be a case for a lot of our players this pre-season, some for different reasons, for example Yarmolenko and Reid are coming back from long term injuries, Cullen, Browne, Powell are coming back from loan spells and the likes of Wilshere, Fredericks & Lanzini that will be looking to kick on their careers at the club this season after a positive end to the 18/19 season.

With 31 players currently in pre-season training with the first team I would fully expect to see Pellegrini play two completely different sides in each half tomorrow evening. It will be great to see Reid and Yarmolenko back in a Claret & Blue shirt. With the return of these guys as well as Wilshere, Sanchez and Lanzini keeping fit ahead of the new season it will be like having a few new signings in the camp.

Speaking of new arrivals goalkeeers Roberto & David Martin I’d guess will get a half each in the match with Fabianski only joining up with the squad on Monday. The same will probably apply for Declan Rice, I personally do not see either of them featuring until the Manchester City game in China next week.

The game is a great opportunity for the younger players to make an impact with the first team; I’d like to see Holland, Cullen & Browne given a chance to impress. One youngster who i think will get a chance this pre-season is Ben Johnson with Masuaku still away I’d expect Johnson to get 45 minutes at left back in this game and the fact Pellegrini has also named him in the squad for China suggests he’ll be seriously looked at this summer. The other youngsters named in the China tour squad are Diangana & Cullen, meaning no place for the likes of Holland, Browne & also Jordan Hugill, what does the future hold for him?

Going into the first game of pre-season it’s ultimately all about building up match fitness and match sharpness in readiness for the new season. Pellegrini will want to also ensure that his brand of football is being installed into his team even more this season than last as this is now his second pre-season with the squad. I believe over last season we see flashes of how Pellegrini likes to play but he will want to see it more consistently from his side this season and pre-season is the time he can drill it into them as much as possible. The most important thing from the game will be that we come out of it with no injuries.

SCR Altach are further into their pre-season preparations and this game will be their 4th pre-season game. Due to this I’d expect them to be much fitter and sharper than us. They won their last game 2-0 having drawn and lost their first two fixtures.

They have a good set of young players from the looks of their squad and with new manager Alex Pastoor coming from Feyenoord U21’s team we should expect them to try and play with the ball and keep possession well. Key players to keep an eye out for are, Mergim Berisha (Number 37), Christian Gebauer (Number 7) & Manfred Fischer (Number 30). These players appeared to be there best players last season based on the stats. Mergim Berisha is a 21 year old striker and will be their biggest attacking threat. His on loan from FC Salzberg and scored 7 goals last season.

Our lineup up for this game is almost impossible to guess. One things for certain is Fornals, Masuaku & Balbuena will be unavailable for the game as they are having an extended break due to international commitments over the summer. Personally I reckon Pellegrini will look to mix youth with experience in both halves lineups and the teams could look something like below:

Possible First Half XI: Roberto, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Johnson, Obiang, Noble, Lanzini, Holland, Antonio, Yarmolenko


Possible Second Half XI: Martin, Fredericks, Diop, Oxford, Cresswell, Cullen, Wilshere, Snodgrass, Anderson, Hernandez, Diangana


Players not named in either of these line ups like Browne, Hugill & Powell may get 10-15 minutes off the bench should Pellegrini choose to limit the playing time for a few of the senior players. COYI ⚒