West Ham host Tottenham Hotspur in the EFL Cup tonight with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

And while Manuel Pellegrini used to EFL Cup to rest some players in the previous rounds, things are getting serious now.

Having negotiated banana skin ties against AFC Wimbledon and Macclesfield Town, West Ham now face Premier League side Spurs.

And it has the added dimension of it being a London derby with Spurs desperate to win some silverware.

But with so many injury concerns, Pellegrini has a number of selection dilemmas facing him.

Here is the starting XI we believe he should deploy against Spurs tonight, in his favoured 4-3-3 system.

Goalkeeper

While Lukasz Fabianski is the undisputed number one at West Ham, Adrian should keep his place as the cup goalkeeper.

Defence

Angelo Ogbonna scored the winner against Tottenham in the cup last season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

For this game, it is time to rotate the full-backs. Pablo Zabaleta and Arthur Masuaku started against Leicester City but Ryan Fredericks and Aaron Cresswell should be given a go tonight.

Issa Diop is likely to retain his space at centre-half but Fabian Balbuena could be rested.

In comes Angelo Ogbonna, who has scored in both rounds of the EFL Cup so far and netted the winner in West Ham’s remarkable 3-2 comeback victory last season.

The 6ft 3in defender will cause problems with his height.

Central midfield

Could Pablo Zabaleta join Declan Rice in central midfield? (Photo by West Ham United FC/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Pellegrini likes to deploy three central midfielders but could only have one available in Declan Rice.

The 19-year-old will play a holding role and Zabaleta could line up alongside him. The Argentinian has played in that position before.

Pedro Obiang’s fitness is in the balance and young trio Reece Oxford, Conor Coventry and Moses Makasi are also in with a shout.

Playing just ahead of Rice and Zabaleta would be Robert Snodgrass. The Scotsman has impressed in a deeper central role recently and his energy is useful for the Irons.

 

Attacking midfield

Michail Antonio must try to wrestle his place back from Grady Diangana. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

West Ham will be hoping for a top performance from Felipe Anderson on the left wing.

And it might be worth giving Michail Antonio a chance from the right flank. Grady Diangana has overtaken him in the pecking order and Antonio has a point to prove.

Striker

Marko Arnautovic might be back after missing the Leicester game with illness. But considering his ongoing knee problems, perhaps he should be saved for the weekend.

Instead, the Hammers could stick with Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker has a point to prove and he needs a goal to help his confidence.

The team

GK: Adrian

RB: Fredericks

CB: Diop

CB: Ogbonna

LB: Cresswell

CDM: Rice

CDM: Zabaleta

CM: Snodgrass

RW: Antonio

LW: Anderson

ST: Hernandez

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