West Ham’s poor start to the season will have given Manuel Pellegrini much to ponder over the international break.

The Chilean has no shortage of selection dilemmas because of his side’s underperformance so far. He is still searching for the right formula and will be looking for a positive result when the Hammers travel to Everton on Sunday.

Throughout the week, we’ve been looking at the big calls Pellegrini must make ahead of the trip to Goodison Park. In the final installment, we’ve examined his selection dilemma up front.

Who are the options?

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Marko Arnautovic of West Ham United warms up prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at London Stadium on September 1, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

David Moyes transformed Marko Arnautovic into a centre-forward and Pellegrini has retained him as a frontman, thus far. Javier Hernandez is out of the match with a virus, which shunts Lucas Perez into more serious contention.

Young hotshot Xande Silva was recently pictured in training with the first team and Chicharito’s absence further raises the prospects of him being included in the not too distant future.

Who will they be up against?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Kurt Zouma of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Huddersfield Town at Goodison Park on September 1, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Good question. The Toffees are in the midst of an injury crisis; central defenders Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina are all out.

That leaves Mason Holgate and Kurt Zouma as the likely pairing, but Seamus Coleman’s injury means the former may be deployed at right-back.

Alternatively, Jonjoe Kenny or Lucas Digne could deputise at right-back; the latter option would likely see Leighton Baines back in the side.


The Debate

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 18: West Ham United’s Lucas Perez during the Premier League match between West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth at London Stadium on August 18, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

For many fans, this will be an open and shut case, especially in the absence of Hernandez. Keep talisman Arnautovic up front on his own.

However, Everton’s weakness at right back means that returning Arnie to the left wing may help exploit Marco Silva’s men and also get him on the ball more. 

That would allow 6ft striker Lucas Perez the opportunity to lead the line. The former Arsenal man has goals in him, works hard and can be a handful.

Xande Silva is worth considering as a wildcard, and may well be worth a place on the bench.

The Verdict

Shuffle the pack. Move Arnautovic to the left and play Perez up front. It will get Arnie on the ball more often and shake up the attack.

Perez has quality but needs an opportunity to show what he can do. Against Everton, it makes sense to hand it to him.

Based on our selections this week, Pellegrini should go with (4-2-3-1); Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Anderson, Arnautovic; Perez.


Have something to tell us about this article?