West Ham have no fixture next weekend as the second international break of the season gets underway.
The Hammers go into the pause on the back of a disappointing defeat against Brighton; although that blow will be softened by the fact it was the club’s first defeat in five games.
In the meantime, some of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad are away on international duty. Here, we focus on talisman Marko Arnautovic, who has linked up with the Austria squad.
Arnie’s international excursions kick off with the continuation of Austria’s UEFA Nations League campaign.
He will be part of the side that hosts Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland in Group B3; a match they should be favourites to win.
Then, friendly action awaits. The Austrians will travel to face Denmark, who are shorn of talisman Christian Eriksen, who has an abdominal injury.
Will he play?
Given the forward’s recent injury problems, Pellegrini will hope he doesn’t play too much.
A compromise might be that he plays in the competitive game; but gets a rest for the trip to Denmark in order to protect that knee problem.
Who will he be up against?
Most of the Northern Ireland squad will be familiar to Hammers fans. Cult hero Will Grigg of Wigan and Leeds stopper Bailey Peacock-Farrell will feature in a side captained by Southampton’s Steven Davis.
Despite the absence of Eriksen, there are still some recognisable names in the Danish ranks. Leicester goalie Kasper Schmeichel, Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen and Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all lie in wait.
How can it help West Ham?
With Arnie’s lingering injury problems, there doesn’t look to be much benefit for the Hammers; but that’s an article for another day.
Looking at it positively, the games give him an opportunity to get back on scoring form. He fired a blank against Brighton last time out, and a goal or two would perk his confidence up before his return to England.