West Ham can boast a strong starting XI and they’ll need it as a very important opening match of the season against Newcastle United beckons for the Hammers.
It’s rare for a team to have a must-win match to start their season, yet here we are. West Ham have no choice but to go heavy and strong against a much improved Newcastle team as the fixtures get much more difficult as the season moves on.
For the Hammers, there has been some good news. Tomas Soucek has been cleared of his Coronavirus scare, Declan Rice has trained, and no injuries were sustained the week heading into matchday one for the Premier League. With all players available, this is the predictions for the opening day XI for West Ham:
Ben Johnson – Issa Diop – Angelo Ogbonna – Aaron Cresswell
Jarrod Bowen – Declan Rice – Tomas Soucek – Pablo Fornals
Sebastien Haller – Michail Antonio
Bench: Randolph, Fredericks, Balbuena, Masuaku, Noble, Anderson, Yarmolenko
The biggest question mark heading into this game is who will start for the Hammers at left-back? Aaron Cresswell is not Premier League quality as he showed off last season, however, Moyes seems to fancy Masuaku as an attacker so he will be a bench option if the team needs some defensive width or a tricky attacking option.
The formation is also a sticking point. West Ham need to get Haller going this season and he’s played his best matches with a striker partner. With only Antonio and Xande Silva on the team, it’s Antonio who draws in as his batterymate. This attack is strong, and Bowen‘s creativity on the right can help boost its effectiveness.
This team is strong enough to beat the improved Newcastle team that awaits them on the opening day. The showing against Bournemouth in the preseason was inexcusable but cooler heads have prevailed and the Irons should be primed and ready for action to start on the right foot with a strong, balanced team.