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If this is the Irons starting XI my eyes are watering

Slowly things are becoming clearer although trying to pick a Hammers first team from so many options is a bit like trying to find the proverbial old needle in a haystack.

It’s not made any easier by the latest word that Senor Pellegrini still wants – and is pressing for a midfielder – and a striker.

Ryan Fredericks and Ipswich Town’s Andre Dozzell battle for the ball (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Should he get them this will probably be the most formidable Hammers squad we have seen in many years and fair play to him – he’s doing what all managers should do: Push the board to dig deeper and deeper.

On the other side of the coin, in personally guaranteeing a new £50m overdraft and spending up to it, the board have gone beyond anything they have done before and faced up to their most vehement critics.

For the purposes of this piece we can only work on the current personnel and the omission of such as Edi Fernandes, Sam Byram and Reece Oxford from the Austrian squad  make things only marginally easier when deciding who will get the shout for the opening game at Liverpool.

My team will obviously prove controversial to some but after a lot of thought this is what I’ve come up with and it just proves that when the boss said early on he was building a squad rather than a team never a truer word was spoken:

Adrian: Has done nothing wrong is the recognised No 1 and I reckon he will start.

Fredericks: An out and out Pellegrini type – loves to get forward but knows how to defend.

Diop: Has been under little pressure but I think he looks composed and at £21 million is unlikely to be overlooked.

Ogbonna: Still worries at times but by a large a decent pre-season.

Cresswell: Hoping he is fit because we need his defensive qualities whilst hoping he will recover that sparkling  forward going form under the new boss.

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Noble: Has had an impressive pre-season and nailed on to start.

Wilshere: Not great against Ipswich but clearly quality and creative brilliance at best.

Rice: Looked terrific in the midfield role at Ipswich – my fingers are seriously crossed for the lad.

Yarmolenko: Looks a top signing, big, clever and really hard to push off the ball.

Anderson: Exciting even at half pace – what a star he’s set to become for us.

Arnie: None of my words necessary.

Bench: Fabianski, Balbuena, Zabaleta, Arthur, Antonio, Chicharito, Snodgrass.

If we’ve had a stronger squad I haven’t seen it in a lot of years!



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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

11 comments on “If this is the Irons starting XI my eyes are watering

  1. Agree with this for away games and home games against quality opposition. Against others, I’d hope to see us play Hernandez and Arnie up front, with Rice dropping out and Noble playing the CDM role. Knowing Antonio and Arthur can cover Yarmo and Anderson is definitely a step up, and we still have Lazini to return! Awesome!

  2. Agree has a very exciting look about it. The Anfield game will tell us a lot about our potential for the season win/lose or draw. Personally I think the best signing is MP, it seems he has stamped his authority on the club and wants to move forward in the correct way. The owners have rightly taken a lot of stick over the years, however they deserve a lot of credit for getting MP on board. COYI

  3. My big question mark is Snodgrass. He was absolutely awful against Ipswich and is simply not PL class. He seriously lacks pace, his ball control is poor and he seems totally out of sorts playing with such good players around him. He must go!

  4. Going on your assertion that Adrian has done nothing wrong to lose the number 1 spot, I’d say that applies to the left back slot too. Arfur has been awesome in pre season and I don’t see why he should be starting there and continuing his good link up with Anderson.

    MP also claims that Chicharito is going to play a big part this season so if he’s not gonna start up front with Arnie then I think he’ll start on his own with Arnie in the #10 role behind Chicho.

    Either way, I agree with you that the squad is strong right now so with the 2 extras he wants to bring in, it’s all looking like next level. ⚒⚒⚒

  5. Please forgive the omission of the word ‘not’ after the word ‘should’ in the first paragraph. Arfur should be starting at LB 👍🏼

  6. good call . Though i would use zab at right back for his experiance and ease fredricks in
    hopeing for cover from rice and arfer

  7. “Cresswell: Hoping he is fit because we need his defensive qualities whilst hoping he will recover that sparkling forward going form under the new boss.”

    Cresswell gets judged harshly by West Ham fans. He is expected to defend like a full back and attack like a winger. Most agree he is the better defensive option to Masuaku but seem to think he can’t get forward anymore. No one ever mentions that he was the defender with the most assists last season in the Premier League (7) and played the majority of the season as a CB in a back 3. Masuaku who actually played Wing Back the majority of the time only managed 3 assists. Cresswell has to start at LB if he is fit.

  8. I think this would be the best starting 11, except Masuaku would be prefered by MP because his attacking has been the best he has done with us. His defending has not yet been tested, and MP might want to see it he has improved.
    My real doubt is going to be the CB pairing. Diop has real class but has been shaky in pre-season. He needs time to settle. Malbuena is also going to be a great signing but also dozed of in the last game. Ogbonna is never my favorite as he dozes of in most games, but his experience might see him get the nod. Time will tell with these 3 but we should give them that time.

  9. Hopefully the rumours are true about Drinkwater and we can negotiate a deal, that said, mine would swap three of the defence, Zaba, Balbuena and Masuaku for Cressie, Diop and Fredericks 🙂

  10. Kouyate not even mentioned in that match day squad?
    If he’s moved on then surely his replacement would either start, or start from the bench.

  11. Noble nailed on to start ? in one sentence you praise Pell as is he knows what he is doing and is a fine judge of player, then you mention that a stone overweight Noble who really doesn’t need to get any slower is nailed on. i watched him pre season and he looks nailed to the bench, pell can borrow my paslode frame nailer if he wants.

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