David Moyes’ side were dire in their opening weekend defeat to Newcastle United at London Stadium while Mikel Arteta’s men swept past newly-promoted Fulham 3-0.
Moyes made ten changes in midweek as West Ham progressed to third round of the Carabao Cup by seeing off Charlton Athletic 3-0, Sebastien Haller scoring twice and Felipe Anderson adding the gloss late on with the third goal.
Their performances have led to Hammers fans clamouring for them to be recalled to the Premier League starting eleven having struggled for game time since lockdown under Moyes. The manager, however, urged caution.
He said on Friday: “I inherited both of them, both had big reputations and I think the games that they have played everybody had the chance to see their performances,” Moyes said.
“I’ve got to say the two of them are great to work with, the two of them are really good lads – I like them a lot. Felipe is a terrific lad, so is Seb.
“But what I want them to be is terrific players every time they play and I want them to make a difference. They were bought by the club to make a difference, one to be a major goal scorer and one to be a major assist maker.
“I think both in midweek showed a little of that but you have to be doing that regularly and you have to be able to show it in the major games. Both have got a bit of competition to get in the team.”
Moyes has persisted with his square pegs in round holes team selection that, in fairness, served him well after lockdown but looked very poor against the Toon last weekend.
So how could the Hammers line up this weekend? This is what we think Moyes might go with against the Gunners.
In our side, the major of the players who played against Newcastle but rested against Charlton should return as Moyes reverts to what he knows best.
We have included Sebastien Haller in our side though to partner Michail Antonio up front and we have also made a change in defence.
We have brought in Arthur Masuaku, another solid performer in midweek, at the expense of Aaron Cresswell. Masuaku’s attacking threat will be an obvious weapon but his pace in getting back to defend should also be of help against Arsenal’s pace.
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Mark Noble is an injury doubt for the game having not trained on Friday and Moyes tends not to risk players who are not fully fit so we have left the captain out of the side, Declan Rice will take the armband.
The rest of the side remains the same from the Newcastle game. Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks and Angelo Ogbonna should return to the back five.
In midfield, Rice and Soucek will line up in midfield in a slight tactical tweak for our side from what Moyes has deployed previously.
We have persisted with Pablo Fornals in a left wing role and with Jarrod Bowen returning on the right having been an unused substitute in midweek.
We have also paired Haller and Michail Antonio up front for a rare foray in the same team together.