West Ham will probably be without their captain for this weekend’s trip to the south coast. The Hammers take on Brighton and Hove Albion at The AMEX Stadium this Saturday but skipper Mark Noble is unlikely to play, according to Football London.
Noble has a dead leg and that prevented him from playing in the final pre-season games for West Ham. His absence was sorely felt on the opening day of the season as Manchester City thumped the lacklustre Hammers with a 5-0 win.
West Ham fans were hoping to have Noble back to galvanise the troops for the away game against Brighton. But the Irons will have to do it without the 32-year-old in midfield.
Who can play instead of Mark Noble?
On the opening day of the season, Manuel Pellegrini selected a midfield trio. Declan Rice played in the holding role with Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere ahead of him. But this left the defence vulnerable and Man City exploited this glaring weakness.
The problem is that without Noble, West Ham have not got another obvious tough-tackling midfielder. Carlos Sanchez is the alternative but his form was poor in pre-season while Conor Coventry is too inexperienced to be given an accelerated first-team role.
Rice will retain his place in between the defence and attacking midfield spots. But Pellegrini might be tempted to play Pablo Fornals or Robert Snodgrass instead of either Wilshere or Lanzini.
Wilshere is the obvious choice to drop to the bench given his fitness concerns in the past. West Ham’s midfield three could include Rice, Fornals and Lanzini this weekend.