Whatever advantage West Ham United might have over Chelsea in terms of fixture pile-up is undone by injuries.

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David Moyes’s high-flying West Ham side have had a full week to recover following the defeat to Newcastle.

Meanwhile Chelsea have played Man City in the FA Cup, drew with Brighton last night and face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals just 72 hours after their European six-pointer with West Ham.

West Ham United v Fulham - Premier League
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West Ham lose any advantage as result of injury crisis

It should be an advantage for West Ham.

But injuries and suspension mean even Chelsea’s reserve team would give the Hammers a game this weekend.

West Ham will be without Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell again. Also missing will be Craig Dawson and Arthur Masuaku.

It is time for Moyes to make some tough decisions.

As admirably as Mark Noble has performed in midfield in Rice’s absence, he simply does not have the legs or mobility to impact the game against a top side like Chelsea.

West Ham United v Leeds United - Premier League
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Moyes must put more legs around Noble and free up Soucek with two big changes for Chelsea

So does Moyes have to do what he did late on against Newcastle and bring Manuel Lanzini into the team with Pablo Fornals sitting in central midfield alongside Noble and Tomas Soucek?


If Lanzini cannot last the whole match – given his lack of game time in recent months – then Said Benrahma can come on in his place.

Ben Johnson will likely have to play at left-back as Moyes reverts to a back four.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Lanzini can help link with Lingard and Bowen as West Ham counter

Having Fornals helping in central midfield will also enable Soucek to get forward more.

The Czech hero has noticeably had his wings clipped since Rice was sidelined and West Ham need his goals and presence in the opposition box.

Lanzini can help link the midfield to Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen on the counter attack.

Here is how Moyes will likely have to line up against Chelsea with the lack of options available to him:

Fabianski, Coufal, Ogbonna, Diop, Johnson, Noble, Fornals, Soucek, Lanzini, Lingard, Bowen.

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