Decisions, Decisions in West Ham Predicted XI for FA Cup Clash

West Ham manager David Moyes. DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
West Ham manager David Moyes. DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

David Moyes is in a not-so-envious position picking the West Ham team for the FA Cup clash with Manchester United, especially when picking his attackers. Who will the Irons throw up top to pierce the Red Devils’ backline?

The main concern when picking this team is the replacement of Michail Antonio. The solo striker on this West Ham team was clearly off his game against Fulham as he was visibly tired and unable to make his marquee sprints. Regardless of a late fitness test, Antonio is likely out.

That leaves Moyes with three options – Jarrod Bowen up top, Andriy Yarmolenko up top, or Mipo Odubeko up top. Of the three, 18-year-old Odubeko is the only recognized striker, but can the Scottsman gamble a crucial cup tie on a teenager’s full debut?

Likely not. That leaves Bowen and Yarmolenko, and to be honest, I believe we see both in this matchday XI. Yarmolenko has been disappointing this season but has also not had many starting minutes. Against Doncaster, he looked terrific and scored a wonderful goal, but United are much tougher than that opponent. So, who will it be?

West Ham’s predicted XI to take on Manchester United in the FA Cup:

Fredericks – Balbuena – Ogbonna – Cresswell – Johnson
Rice –  Noble
Yarmolenko – Bowen – Fornals

Bench: Martin, Diop, Dawson, Coufal, Soucek, Lanzini, Holland, Benrahma, Odubeko

No Jesse Lingard and no senior team depth means bench spots for both Odubeko and Nathan Holland. This, unfortunately, also means no Michail Antonio as, despite his very vocal interest in winning the FA Cup, he cannot be risked on short rest as it could derail the rest of the season.

The attacking line picks itself, but Yarmolenko and Bowen may be switched. The lack of a recognized striker could, as this predicted team suggests, link back to the five-at-the-back formation we saw earlier this season. This would allow Bowen, Yarmo, and Pablo Fornals the freedom to get central with extra help out wide.

Does this team inspire confidence? Not really. Can this team get a result against title-hunting Manchester United? Absolutely, but there is very little room for error. United will probably be starting a weakened line up, but they will have Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes at the ready on the bench.

Next. No need for West Ham to press the panic button yet. dark

The backline is a complete guess and maybe the harder section to pick for Moyes. Rest is crucial to avoid injury, but who can be rested and who are must-start players? This one is a crapshoot and a total guess, so here’s to David Moyes, the architect of the unpredictable!