With the third round draw for the FA Cup coming up, West Ham players get a lifeline in tournament play to earn more playing time.
The early rounds of the FA Cup allow for Premier League teams to integrate fringe players into their team to impress the manager and prove they need more minutes to make an impact on the first team. For West Ham, a few players must take the third round opportunity and run with it.
We can assume the formation that David Moyes has constructed will likely stay for the FA Cup matchups in order to see which players can make an impact in the same system used for Premier League matches. For West Ham, four players in the backline will need to step up and impress.
At both wingback positions, Ryan Fredericks and Ben Johnson on the right and left side respectively will have to take their chances this season. For Fredericks, injury saw him lose his place to Vladimir Coufal, who offers more going forward and similar crossing in attack.
More from Green Street Hammers - West Ham
Johnson, who technically is third in the pecking order at right-back, will need to step up and show how ambidextrous he is. The freedom to get forward with three centre-backs behind him will give Johnson a chance to stay committed to the attack.
Two centre-backs will also need to step up: the benched Issa Diop and newcomer Craig Dawson. Diop looked solid against Fulham in a sub cameo. We know he has the skills to be an elite defender, but he needs to find consistency and better decision making in critical situations.
Dawson, who apparently has impressed Moyes in training, is looking a lot like a player we are going to see very little of unless the injury bug bites (knock on wood). Still, his Premier League experience is a bonus and he will likely step in without a problem.
The quickest and shortest section for West Ham to have to worry about for player rotation is in the midfield. There are two players to look out for, Mark Noble who will start these FA Cup matches, and Conor Coventry who should be working the double pivot beside him.
Unfortunately for Coventry, international play saw him pick up a broken toe for Ireland. According to West Ham’s top ITK ExWHUemployee, Coventry picked up the metatarsal break and played on it for his country, and a 4-6 week injury lay off has now followed. This will put him back in training at the end of December and back in line to play come the third round in early January.
West Ham could also wrap up the signing of John Lundstram from a cut fee in early January to bolster their midfield depth and support the Cup team. Who knows if this signing will actually happen, or any January signings, but the midfield is a guess until then.
Want your voice heard? Join the Green Street Hammers team!Write for us!
A few names come to mind when looking at the attack, specifically in wide positions. Jarrod Bowen will likely take a bench spot for Andriy Yarmolenko and/or Robert Snodgrass on the right-wing. Both players have great delivery and shooting from range and are able to seamlessly step into a starting role with their Premier League experience.
On the left, the easy answer would be whoever is not starting in the Prem between Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma will get the go-ahead, however, Manuel Lanzini could step up for both players should he be fit and able to make the start. Also, Nathan Holland, who is rehabbing a hamstring injury, is also in the mix for a left-wing spot.
At striker, it’ll likely be the player who isn’t starting in the Premier League between Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller. This isn’t ideal for a game against lower competition as both players are integral to the first team. An early January signing of a striker (Josh King, cough cough) would be the perfect stop-gap and chance for this new player to get acquainted with his new teammates.
There has rarely been a time where the Hammers can boast a team as strong as this current iteration. Depth in central midfield and at striker are two causes for concern, but the elite attacking options could carry this team to a deep FA Cup run under David Moyes.