Fabian Balbuena is hoping to get some much-needed game time under his belt during the international break. Paraguay travel to Serbia for a friendly and it will be a difficult test for Balbuena.

The Hammers defender has lost his place to Angelo Ogbonna this season. With Issa Diop and Ogbonna performing well, Balbuena’s chances have been limited mainly to the cup competition. And after shipping four goals against Oxford United, he faces a battle to regain his spot.

This is why the international break comes at the right time for Balbuena. If the Paraguay international impresses, he will give Manuel Pellegrini some food for thought. Serbia and Paraguay lock horns on Thursday evening.


Fabian Balbuena vs. Aleksandar Mitrovic

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

There is one potential battle that will catch Pellegrini’s eye if it happens. Balbuena will be in a direct battle with Aleksandar Mitrovic if they are both on the pitch at the same time.

Fulham striker Mitrovic seems to be perennially linked with a move to West Ham. The 25-year-old hit double figures in the Premier League with Fulham last season and already has eight in 11 this season.

With West Ham light in the striker department, this could be a deal Pellegrini revisits in the future. Therefore, it could be a double scouting mission in Serbia with Balbuena and Mitrovic engaged in a telling tussle.

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