West Ham United travel to Sheffield United for a crunch Friday night clash.

After a bright start the Hammers have endured a torrid season and find themselves 16th at the halfway stage.

Sheffield United meanwhile have been widely praised for their impressive return to the top tier.

The Blades sit eighth going into the game.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

So far so good for Moyes but Blades are toughest test yet

But it says a lot about how tight the division is this season that a West Ham win at Brammall Lane would put David Moyes’s side just four points behind their hosts.

It is a case of so far, so good for Moyes on his controversial West Ham return.

Many Hammers fans were unhappy with the re-appointment, feeling it was typical of their unambitious owners.

But a 4-0 win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Day – West Ham’s biggest league victory in three and a half years at their new London Stadium home – and a 2-0 win at Gillingham in the FA Cup has brightened the mood.

West Ham fans are no fools, though, and know there are tougher tests to come. And Sheffield United away are about as tough as they come right now.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Hammers boss reverts to 442 and makes four changes

Moyes looks set to revert back to a 442 system and make four changes to the team which started against Gillingham in the FA Cup.

 

Pablo Zabaleta comes in for the injured Ryan Fredericks at right-back.

Moyes will stick with the centre-back pairing of Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna for now while Aaron Cresswell returns at left-back in a second change to the team.

Mark Noble returns to the side alongside Declan Rice in midfield, replacing Issa Diop who started the FA Cup tie as part of a three man defence.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Hard-working Pablo rewarded

And finally Pablo Fornals – who has impressed Moyes with his workrate – takes the ineffective Manuel Lanzini’s place in a fourth and final change.

Read: David Moyes tells West Ham star Pablo Fornals in no uncertain terms what he demands

West Ham could be boosted by the return of Michail Antonio from injury.

But he won’t be risked from the start if fit and will be used from the bench if at all.

Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Sheffield United:

Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Fornals, Anderson, Haller.

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