West Ham’s poor start to the season will have given Manuel Pellegrini much to ponder over the international break.
The Chilean has no shortage of selection dilemmas because of his side’s underperformance so far. He is still searching for the right formula and will be looking for a positive result when the Hammers travel to Everton on Sunday.
Throughout the week, we’ll be looking at the big calls Pellegrini must make ahead of the trip to Goodison Park. Here, we’ve examined his selection dilemma in wide areas.
Who are the options?
Pellegrini has a number of potential options out wide, but perhaps not many natural fits. Andriy Yarmolenko loves to cut inside onto his left foot from the right, as does Robert Snodgrass.
Michail Antonio has recently been fielded out on the right and Felipe Anderson can operate in wide areas as well. Marko Arnautovic has converted to a striker role, but can still play from the left. Lucas Perez can also play on the flanks as well.
Who will they be up against?
Seamus Coleman suffered a stress fracture of the foot last time out against Huddersfield and his absence for this one gives Marco Silva a real dilemma.
Lucas Digne performed well at left-back in that match against the Terriers, but may be forced to switch to right-back to cover for the Irishman. In that event, Leighton Baines would come back in on the left. Jonjoe Kenny could also come in at right back, but he is yet to convince.
If Yerry Mina is fit to return ahead of schedule, he could come in at centre-half, with Mason Holgate shuffling over to the right. Either way, it’s clear that the Toffees have a weakness at full-back, especially on the right.
Antonio has not been cutting the mustard of late, so either Snodgrass or Yarmolenko should come in on the left. It will be important that whichever is picked does their job defensively, but both can cut inside and link the play.
Out on the left, there is no clear option. That’s a shame for Pellegrini as Everton look weak there. Anderson is better off playing through the middle, Snodgrass prefers to play from the right, and so does Perez.
There is little doubt Arnautovic has the power to exploit the weakness in Everton’s side, so perhaps returning him to the left flank could prove fruitful.
We’ll look a the striker debate tomorrow but Javier Hernandez or Lucas Perez could lead the line, in order to allow Pellegrini to get his star man up against a weak link.
It may seem foolish to alter the position of West Ham’s best player, and their only league goalscorer so far this season away from the striker role.
However, Everton’s right looks to be a weak point on Sunday, and getting Arnie into that role could pay dividends. He has also been isolated at times in recent weeks, but would hope to be more involved in the play out wide, coming onto play rather than having his back to goal.
It would be a bold change but it could pay off.