West Ham, for the second consecutive season, failed to make the group stage of the Europa League and it was Romanian side Astra Giurgiu once again who denied them from a place in Europe. The Hammers now solely focus on the Premier League which can actually turn out to be blessing in disguise for the East London club. Considering the plethora of quality they possess and a manager like Slaven Bilic leading them, West Ham challenging for a top-four finish is not at all unrealistic.
A strong test awaits the Hammers this Sunday as they host Pep Guardiola’s mighty Manchester City at the Olympic Stadium on matchday three of the Premier League. West Ham are on the back of a 1-0 win over Bournemouth whereas City will be looking to make it three out of three after beating Sunderland and Stoke City.
Pep Guardiola’s side struggled to get all three points against David Moyes’ Sunderland on the opening day but absolutely thrashed Stoke City in the second game week. West Ham will be a big test for Guardiola’s side and we can expect a cracker of a match. Slaven Bilic’s side have what it takes to spoil Guardiola’s party and here is the predicted West Ham lineup for the crucial game.
Adrian will start under the bar ahead of Darren Randolph who was on duty in the midweek against Astra. Michail Antonio is likely to feature as a right-back but needs to ensure that he does a good job defensively. Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna will pair up at the heart of the defence while summer signing from Olympiacos Arthur Masuaku will start in the left-back position.
Havard Nordtveit will start in defensive midfield and will protect the back four. With the Norwegian international screening the defence, Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate will start as the two box to box midfielders. The duo will offer West Ham industry and creativity in midfield and will be looking to dominate the midfield.
Gokhan Tore will start on the right flank while Dimitri Payet is likely to make the starting XI after coming back from an injury. The Frenchman will start on the left flank. Enner Valencia is likely to spearhead the attack for the Hammers ahead of loanee Jonathan Calleri. Manuel Lanzini is also coming back from an injury layoff and we expect the Argentine to be called into action at some point.