West Ham United have had a rollercoaster start to their Premier League season. After a four-game losing streak, the Hammers managed a bit of winning momentum, beating Everton and Manchester United in the process.
However, the latest defeat to Brighton put a temporarily halted their progress before the international break. West Ham are currently standing 15th in the league table, four points ahead of relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town.
Here is the strongest West Ham lineup based on the performances so far this season.
Lukasz Fabianski has been West Ham’s number one choice in between the sticks, making him an easy pick over second-choice Adrian. The Pole has been pretty consistent, often bailing the team out of trouble with good saves.
Things do get interesting in the backline, however, with West Ham having at least three candidates fighting for the two centre-back spots. But at the same time, both the new signings in Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop have made a formidable defensive partnership of late and should be preferred over Angelo Ogbonna.
As for the wider defensive roles, the experienced Pablo Zabaleta will start ahead of new signing Ryan Fredericks in the right-back while Arthur Masuaku starts on the opposite flank. Only Felipe Anderson (41) has attempted more tackles than Masuaku (29) this season. He has also made 16 interceptions, a tally only bettered by Balbuena.
Declan Rice starts as the lone defensive midfielder for apparent reasons. The young midfielder has played an integral role in West Ham’s improving form, reflected in his impressive statistics of 1.8 interceptions and 2.7 clearances per 90 minutes.
While Rice has been tasked with the responsibility of screening the backline, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang’s work-ethic and industry have been crucial to West Ham’s midfield endeavours. Both the players start ahead of Jack Wilshere, who has failed to make a big impression so far while struggling with injuries.
Carlos Sanchez will also remain on the bench while Manuel Lanzini is still sidelined with a long-term injury.
In what has been by far West Ham’s strongest asset this season, the attacking trio of Andriy Yarmolenko, Marko Arnautovic, and Felipe Anderson has worked well of late.
Although they have appeared inconsistent at times, their dynamism and creativity in the final third make them a feared attacking trio capable of competing with the best.
Anderson, in particular, has been proactive, having averaged 2.5 key passes per game, which is higher than the combined total (1.8) of Yarmolenko (0.5) and Arnautovic (1.3). But, it remains to be seen if he can maintain his good form throughout the rest of the campaign.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored