West Ham United entertain Newcastle United in the opening game of the season at the London Stadium on Saturday night.
Things had looked a lot rosier at West Ham after they secured survival with some impressive performances at the end of last term.
David Moyes had set out his vision for a new look Hammers side built to last around young, hungry players.
Saturday’s opponents Newcastle are giddy on transfers – including signing two West Ham targets Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson.
West Ham left behind in transfer window
But West Ham remain the only club in the Premier League without a new arrival this summer.
It showed last weekend when West Ham lost their final warm-up game 5-3 at home to Championship Bournemouth.
The biggest deal West Ham have done this summer is the controversial sale of young star Grady Diangana to West Brom for £20m.
That was sanctioned against Moyes’s wishes according to the likes of The Daily Mail.
There are grave concerns the Hammers could be relegated this season if there is no investment before the window closes on October 5th.
It means Moyes must start the new season with the same squad he ended the last.
Unimproved and unchanged
And the Scot’s lack of squad depth is evident in the fact he has very few selection dilemmas ahead of the big kick-off.
In fact there looks set to be just one – possibly two – changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in the final game of last season.
Tomas Soucek is available as are Declan Rice and Issa Diop.
The only question marks are over who plays in the full-back positions. Moyes is reportedly trying to bring in new fullbacks in the transfer window.
Ben Johnson looked to have made the right back spot his own with some impressive performances following Jeremy Ngakia’s departure last term.
But he turned in a shocking performance against Bournemouth which saw him hooked after just 25 minutes.
Hobson’s choice for Moyes with decisions to make over fullbacks
Ryan Fredericks has been woeful since signing for West Ham and looks out of his depth at Premier League level.
But Johnson’s worrying display may have made Moyes’s mind up for him this weekend.
At left-back neither Aaron Cresswell nor Arthur Masuaku fill any West Ham fan with the slightest bit of confidence.
Cresswell’s time looks to have been and gone. And Masuaku simply cannot defend.
So it is very much a case of Hobson’s choice for Moyes in both full-back positions.
Given Cresswell was Moyes’s preferred option when fit last season he will likely get the nod.
Michail Antonio will continue up front with Sebastien Haller on the bench.
Pablo Fornals will start on the left ahead of Felipe Anderson, with Jarrod Bowen on the right.
West Ham predicted starting XI vs Newcastle:
Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Noble, Fornals, Bowen, Antonio.