After two league games unbeaten, West Ham have an opportunity to continue their EFL Cup progress when they host Macclesfield Town on Wednesday night.
Silverware would represent wonderful progress for Manuel Pellegrini in his first season in charge; but this week’s game is likely to be used tactically.
Giving fringe players a game while resting first-teamers; especially those who are new to English football, will be the order of the day.
That offers up some selection dilemmas and we’ve had a look at the conundrum out on the wings…
Who are the options?
The men in position of the wide berths in Pellegrini’s current first-choice 4-3-3 are Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson.
Yarmolenko won the match for the Hammers at Everton, but spurned the chance to clinch a second straight win by missing a sitter against Chelsea on Sunday. Anderson’s increased defensive diligence has lended itself to a wide role.
In reserve, Robert Snodgrass’s attitude has been admirable this season. By contrast, Michail Antonio’s form has been patchy at best, and he failed to impress as a striker against the Blues.
Lucas Perez has been largely snubbed since his summer arrival, but can play on the left too.
Who will they be up against?
Having taken on two of the Premier League’s full-backs in Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso on Sunday, this game represents a change of pace.
Last time out at Morecambe, Macclesfield played David Fitzpatrick at left-back. The local lad has been at the club since 2015 and this season has given him his first taste of league football.
On the right was James Pearson. He is the son of former Leicester manager Nigel, and was sacked by the Foxes after taking part in a disgraceful incident on a post-season tour in 2015.
That despicable episode really should have spelled the end of his playing days at professional level, but he is carving out a career for himself.
Snodgrass has been very impressive since Pellegrini arrived and surely deserves a start. He got his head down in pre-season and has worked hard every time he’s come on.
The Scot’s preferred role being on the right means Antonio may have to play up front to get a game. That only leaves the left wing for Perez to slot into.
Sunday’s Chelsea game looked to be the perfect opportunity for the former Arsenal man, but Pellegrini again left him on the bench.
If he is benched again for this one; against League Two opposition, with top players needing a rest, then he may as well start looking for a January move. It would show Pellegrini doesn’t fancy him at all.
The shadow string should get a chance to shine. Snodgrass is a shoo-in on the right and if Perez can’t get in up front, he must play on the left. It would be a big chance for the Spaniard.