West Ham United’s 2017-18 Premier League season is set to start on Sunday, with the Hammers facing a daunting trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Irons have raised a few eyebrows in the transfer window this summer, with the London Stadium outfit bringing in a host of new experienced faces.
As such, Slaven Bilic will have some key decisions to make for the clash in Manchester, with the formation he fields the first question to answer.
While West Ham’s defence had some nightmare moments last season, the team looked much more secure towards the end of the campaign when a three-man rearguard was selected.
Given the personnel available to Bilic for the Premier League clash, this system seems the most suited to taking on United on Sunday.
The West Ham coach will have to select three centre-halves out of four however, with James Collins potentially the man to miss out – despite superb performances towards the end of 2016-17.
A three-man defence would allow Pablo Zabaleta to make his debut at right wing-back, while Arthur Masuaku could well be chosen on the opposite flank as Aaron Cresswell has been carrying a knock.
In midfield, the injured Cheikhou Kouyate will be missed, with Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble charged with trying to grip on possession in the clash at Old Trafford.
Further forward, club record signing Marko Arnautovic is surely set to play in attacking midfield in place of the missing Manuel Lanzini, while Andre Ayew should also get the nod to play.
With Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho still injured, West Ham supporters should get their first glimpse of new striker Javier Hernandez in competitive action for the club as the furthest man forward.
The Mexico international has been signed to provide the firepower necessary for the Hammers to challenge for a top-six place and he will be facing his former employers in United.
With Joe Hart to also make his debut in goal, West Ham can field a team of ability and experience despite five first-team men being unavailable for the trip north.
Predicted West Ham Starting XI vs Manchester United (3-4-2-1): Hart; Fonte, Reid, Ogbonna; Masuaku, Obiang, Noble; Zabaleta; Arnautovic, Ayew; Hernandez