West Ham will be looking to build on the momentum generated by last weekend’s win at Everton when Chelsea visit the London Stadium on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri’s men are top of the league and yet to drop a point and a difficult assignment may become even tougher for Manuel Pellegrini.

Talisman Marko Arnautovic is an injury doubt for the match on Sunday, as he is still suffering with a problem behind his knee sustained in the victory at Goodison Park.

So who should lead the attack if the Austrian is not fit to start? We’ve taken a closer look…

Who are the options?

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As well as Arnautovic’s potential absence, West Ham will also have to face Chelsea without second-choice striker Javier Hernandez.

The Mexican hitman, who has an outstanding record against Chelsea, is still sidelined with a virus.

That doesn’t leave Pellegrini with an awful lot of choices. Summer signing Lucas Perez is likely to be the next cab off the rank. He has not featured much since his summer arrival from Arsenal, but he has at least cleared the air over rumours he refused to warm up last Sunday.

Beyond that, Pellegrini has makeshift options. Xande Silva is a hugely exciting young player, but it would be his first-team debut if he were to play.

Michail Antonio played as a lone frontman under Slaven Bilic but that would not be an ideal compromise either.


Who will they be up against?

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Sarri has done away with Antonio Conte’s preferred three-man defence and reverted back to a four.

That means that David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger are likely to be the two centre-halves charged with keeping tabs on West Ham’s lone frontman.

The former Napoli boss has put more emphasis on the attacking side of Chelsea’s game, which has made clean sheets hard to come by. West Ham may get chances.

The Debate

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Perez is the most experienced option available to Pellegrini and will expect to play. He’s got smart movement and has been waiting patiently for a chance to shine.

That said, Silva is such an exciting prospect. He is scoring goals for fun in the Under-23s and he could be set for a Marcus Rashford moment; a lack of options sees him get a chance and he grabs it.

Seeing a young player come through would excite the fans, no doubt. It’s just a case of whether he’s ready.

The Verdict

If Arnie is out, Perez has to get the nod. He has the quality and experience to make an impact and is capable of taking a chance if it comes his way.

Silva should get a place on the bench. His academy performances have merited it and he would be a surprise package; Chelsea won’t know much about him either. Arnie’s absence need not be a disaster.

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