West Ham: An Ideal XI
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 29 August 2019 at 8:28pm
Written by : @daena_bodie
The Hammers are four games into the new season and with a couple of new signings being added to the squad alongside a few players who have returned from long term injuries, what is Pellegrini’s best XI moving forward? Below is a quick run through of an ideal XI that could finally see the Hammers break into to the top seven.
Fabianski – Undoubtedly, West Ham’s first choice in goal. Fabianski has been nothing short of incredible for the Hammers since signing last summer and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.
Fredericks – A fairly tough decision for the right back spot as Fredericks hasn’t been overly convincing or effective, but Zabaleta is clearly past his best despite having the professional attitude and grit needed to start on a consistent basis. Aside from youngster Ben Johnson, Fredericks is really the only viable option, which makes this pretty straight forward.
Diop – Apart from a shaky start during the Newport game, Diop has been one of the more impressive and consistent performers within the squad. Having been head and shoulders above his competition, Diop has his starting spot nailed on.
Balbuena – As an ideal XI, an in-form Balbuena has to be the other starting centre back. Having struck up a fantastic partnership with Diop last season and with the only other options being Ogbonna, Reid, and Cardoso this selection makes sense. Despite Pellegrini wanting a left footed centre back and a right footed centre back, I can’t see past Balbuena as the man to partner Diop.
Masuaku – Masuaku has definitely come a long way under Pellegrini, despite not seeing himself as a true left-back, he’s the best the Hammers have. Cresswell has under-performed for a long time and Masuaku offers a unique attacking threat through his dribbling and link up with Anderson.
Rice – The simplest decision for Pellegrini as things stand. Rice has performed above and beyond those around him. Without a doubt, the young Englishman is the first name on the team sheet and it’s hard to see that changing as he continues to develop his game.
Wilshere – Fairly controversial, but this is an ideal XI. If Wilshere can find form and stay injury free, he is a player that can upgrade the Hammers midfield and keep Noble out of the team. Noble is the heart and soul of the club, but it is hard to ignore the fact that Jack Wilshere on his day has the makings of a top Premier League midfielder who can control games for the club.
Anderson – Anderson has already shown very impressive glimpses of what’s to come this season. The Brazilian is always involved and influential, and while most would like to see him drive at defences more often, his range of passing and vision is second to none. He is definitely going to pick up a few important goals and assists for the club this season.
Lanzini – West Ham’s jewel is shining at the moment, and just like Anderson he is continuously involved in all things good in West Ham’s attacking play. After such a long injury lay-off, Lanzini is showing some impressive form at the start of the season. His willingness to run at defenses and link with those around him at speed is frightening to say the least. He is already a player who sits near the top of the stats table for most chances created in the league.
Antonio – What a shame it is to see Michail go down with a pretty nasty looking hamstring injury, but he is another player who in an ideal world would be starting for the Hammers. It is no secret that his pace and power are his key attributes and that is frightening for defenders, but it also offers some diversity in a very intricate looking Hammers line up. Antonio is direct, and almost like kids football, he wants to get the ball and head straight towards goal. There’s nothing wrong with that at times and he stretches defenses with his willingness to run.
Haller – The big money signing is undoubtedly the player who starts up front. Having had a fairly quiet game against Watford he still managed to grab a couple of goals that ultimately sealed the win. His ability to bring players into play is going to be difficult for any striker in the league to match and his intelligence to take on high percentage opportunities will see him grab his fair share of goals this season.