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What team should Pellegrini play against Wolves?

Speculating on the first team changes we sorely need

AFC Wimbledon v West Ham United - Carabao Cup Second Round

Ahead of West Ham’s crucial fourth game of the Premier League season, change is needed. Have a look at the seven players who have played all three of our league games this season, and try to explain how Fabian Balbuena has played every minute

West Ham players

Aside from Marko Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Lukasz Fabianski, none of these players have deserved to have fully entrenched themselves so firmly in the starting line-up.

After conceding nine goals in three games, the defence certainly requires a shake-up. Last week against Arsenal all three goals came from the West Ham left, surely meaning that Aaron Cresswell deserves an opportunity to win his left back role back.

At this crucial stage of the season, we at Brace the Hammer have picked the XIs that we’d like to see in the Wolves game - where we can hopefully get our first win of the season:

Jackson Schmidtke

west ham expected lineup

For me the biggest thing about my lineup is that you have to have Diop and Rice on the field. Rice has been really good despite being yanked at halftime against Liverpool. Diop looked really good as well and needs to play ahead of Balbuena who’s been a Jose Fonteesqe dumpster fire.

I went back and forth over having Yarmolenko or Antonio on the wing and I just think that Antonio brings such a great set of skills to the squad that you’ve got to play him when he’s healthy.

Jonathan Lines

West Ham lineup

I think we have the personnel and squad balance to play three at the back - but a more ball-dominant and attacking iteration than which we saw under Moyes.

In Masuaku and Fredericks, we have pace and width, in Rice and Balbuena distribution from the back. Ogbonna is at his best in the middle of a three too. The midfield 3 here also have the ability to play a possession game and in Anderson we have the player to carry the ball forward.

The line-up also hides our deficiencies in a way that Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1 does not. The full backs have not defended well, we have looked too open and having two slow central midfielders has left us horribly exposed.

It’s clear Pellegrini won’t play this formation and he seems tied to this setup. Yet I feel strongly that this gives us the ability to play to the squad’s strengths and hide its weaknesses


west ham wolves lineup

I would rip the defence up and start again with the promising Diop and Ogbonna to partner him. Despite making some mistakes against Arsenal, Isaa Diop looks very promising and should be given some more time to develop into his role.

I deliberated on taking Wilshere out the team, but given our dearth of decent central midfielders on the bench, we have no choice but to play him at present. After months of persuasion, I have also finally come around to the argument of having Arnautovic as the lone striker.

Arsenal v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Read more from Jack Kavanagh at Culture Hash