David Moyes has made one huge West Ham change for Crystal Palace and a big Said Benrahma call for the London derby.
After a recent upturn in results following a dismal start to the season, West Ham slipped to a harsh defeat against Man United last weekend.
London rivals Crystal Palace meanwhile have lost just once in their last five Premier League matches and beat Southampton 1-0 last time out to replace West Ham in 10th place.
Moyes had the luxury of resting all his key first team stars for the Europa Conference League win over FCSB in Romania on Thursday night.
So Patrick Vieira can expect a fully refreshed West Ham when Crystal Palace come to the London Stadium on Sunday.
The clash with the Eagles has become a big game in many respects for West Ham. With last 16 European football secured for a second consecutive season, the Hammers are standing at something of a fork in the road for their Premier League campaign.
A win over Palace would lift the Hammers above their opponents and into the top half again.
Predicted: David Moyes makes one huge West Ham change for Crystal Palace and a big Said Benrahma call
West Ham have – according to Moyes himself – been boosted ahead of the game by the return from injury of Brazil star Lucas Paqueta.
But there was still no sign of Maxwel Cornet in training ahead of the game despite speculation he too could return.
We predict Moyes makes one huge West Ham change for Crystal Palace and a big Said Benrahma call.
There is a chance Moyes will ease Paqueta back by starting him on the bench against the Eagles.
But given just how sorely he has been missed as West Ham struggle to score goals and create chances for Gianluca Scamacca, we think Paqueta will replace Flynn Downes as the only change from the side which started the defeat to Man United last time out.
That is harsh on Downes who has been one of West Ham’s best players of late. But Moyes simply cannot play three defensive midfielders again now Paqueta is available. And having never dropped Tomas Soucek before we don’t see the Scot starting now.
There was also a potential question mark over Benrahma given the form in midweek of Pablo Fornals.
The West Ham fan favourite insisted on playing over in Romania and scored a brace to show Moyes he wants to win his starting place back from the Algerian.
Benrahma was one of West Ham’s better players at Old Trafford, though, and looks set to deservedly keep his place.
It will be both exciting and interesting to see how Paqueta and Benrahma link up together if Moyes does make this change for the Palace clash.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has looked completely fine and fit for the game in training ground videos shared by the club this week following his knock against Man United. So he will keep his starting place ahead of Alphonse Areola.
There has also been talk Scamacca could be dropped for Michail Antonio. But that would be harsh and the Italian must be given a fair run of games to get comfortable in the side, particularly now Paqueta is back.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Crystal Palace:
Fabianski, Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Paqueta, Benrahma, Bowen, Scamacca.