Last season’s Hammer of the Year Lukasz Fabianski will be fit to face reigning champions Manchester City on the opening day of the Premier League.
West Ham host Man City in the early kick-off on Saturday as the Premier League returns. And ahead of the game, there has been a timely boost with Fabianski declared fit by reliable insider EXWHUEmployee.
Fabianski picked up a muscular injury to his groin during the warm-up in West Ham’s recent pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin. He was immediately withdrawn from the match with Roberto taking his place between the sticks and David Martin sitting on the bench.
The Poland international was then missing as West Ham drew 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao at The London Stadium in the final pre-season game. And Roberto’s form has been concerning, prompting fans to panic ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side’s visit.
But Fabianski is back in contention for a starting spot. If the 34-year-old is fully fit, then this is a no-brainer for Manuel Pellegrini. Fabianski will be West Ham’s number one on Saturday.
Potential West Ham team to face Manchester City
Fabianski’s return is a major boost but the defence has still been worrying. Over the last two pre-season matches, West Ham have shipped five goals. The defence has looked leaky and it needs to tighten up to contain Manchester City’s lethal attack.
Ryan Fredericks has been in and out of the team in pre-season with injuries. If he is not deemed fit, then Pablo Zabaleta and Ben Johnson will challenge for the right-back spot. Arthur Masuaku should be given the nod ahead of Aaron Cresswell at left-back.
In central defence, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop are likely to continue. Angelo Ogbonna will probably make the bench with Goncalo Cardoso (just arrived) and Winston Reid (injury doubt) missing out.
Pellegrini needs to pick a more compact midfield with Man City expected to have most of the ball. If Mark Noble is fit, he might slot straight back in. If not, Jack Wilshere might be deployed in a deeper role, alongside Declan Rice, or Carlos Sanchez could get a game.
Pablo Fornals will be hoping for a start after impressing in pre-season and Manuel Lanzini is a shoe-in after scoring three in three. Andriy Yarmolenko is still on his way back to full fitness so he might be benched.
Sebastian Haller has looked sharp in pre-season so will probably get the nod ahead of Javier Hernandez. Michail Antonio is another option for the striker role.
Predicted XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Fornals, Wilshere; Lanzini, Haller, Anderson