By Peter Henry
West Ham United have received positive injury updates on three of the their star players, according to credible Hammers website Claret&Hugh.
Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic and Aaron Cresswell all look set to be declared fit ahead of the club’s Premier League opener against Manchester United, at Old Trafford next Sunday.
The good news does not end there for West Ham fans however, with the report also stating Winston Reid and striker Diafra Sahko came through a behind closed-doors friendly against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
This means that both players have an outside chance of making the squad for the trip to Manchester.
Lanzini and Cresswell both sat out West Ham’s final pre-season game, a 3-0 loss to Manchester City in Iceland. Arnautovic started the City game but was withdrawn early on with what has since been confirmed as a case of cramp.
Argentinian playmaker Lanzini has missed the Hammers’ last four warm-up games having sustained a knee injury in training a few weeks ago. While left-back Cresswell sat out the City defefat as a precautionary measure after suffering what has been described by the club as a minor injury.
This means that the only real injury concerns remaining for Hammers boss Slaven Bilic are those to long-term casualties, striker Andy Carroll and talented attacker Michail Antonio.
The winger is targeting the club’s August 19 trip to south-coast outfit Southampton as his date of return from a long-term thigh injury.
West Ham will be eager to get the versatile forward back into the first-team picture, as Antonio was in superb form last season, resulting in him being voted the club’s Player of the Year and earning a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Bilic will be buoyed by these positive injury updates and after a summer of successful business in the transfer market, he will be quietly confident that his side can cause an upset against Jose Mourinho’s side – perhaps even going one better than the club’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last season.
Despite the club’s board being hugely unpopular with large sections of the West Ham support, they have delivered in this window bringing in high-pedigree experienced Premier League players in the form of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Arnautovic and Javier ”Chicarito” Hernandez.
The deal for Mexican hitman, who will be returning to Old Trafford for the first time since his 2014 move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, may well turn out to be one of the signings of the season.
Considering the crazy transfer fees flying about, getting a proven Premier League and international-level striker for £13 million could prove to be a real coup for the East London side.
Club record-signing Arnautovic has proven over the last few seasons with Stoke City that he has the necessary ability to provide the Mexican finisher with all the ammunition he needs to fire West Ham to a successful campaign.
Due to the fact West Ham’s new ground, the London Stadum, is a multi-purpose venue, the Hammers will be playing their first three Premier League games away from home.
They face Manchester United, Southampton and Newcastle United away, before welcoming Premier League new-boys Huddersfield Town for their first home game on September 11th.
Everybody associated with the club will be optimistic that the club are well placed to have some valuable points on the board, before that first home game.