After two league games unbeaten, West Ham have an opportunity to continue their EFL Cup progress when they host Macclesfield Town on Wednesday night.

Silverware would represent wonderful progress for Manuel Pellegrini in his first season in charge; but this week’s game is likely to be used tactically.

Giving fringe players a game while resting first-teamers; especially those who are new to English football, will be the order of the day.

That offers up some selection dilemmas and we’ve had a look at the conundrum at full-back…

Who are the options?

(Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Pellegrini faces a fairly stark choice; stick with his first choices or give them a rest.

On the right of defence, Pablo Zabaleta has been excellent lately, after Ryan Fredericks’ sticky start to life at the London Stadium.

On the left, Arthur Masuaku is the man in possession, despite Aaron Cresswell returning to a full-back role; the Scouser was a centre-half under David Moyes.

Who will they be up against?

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Obviously, Town may choose to make changes of their own, but Nathan Blissett and Malachi Napa were out wide last time out against Morecambe.

Blissett, the nephew of Watford legend Luther, plays out on the left, while Oxford loanee Napa occupies the right.


The Debate

(Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

The issue for Pellegrini is that Fredericks and Cresswell began the season as starters but lost their jerseys because of poor form.

The duo were as bad as anybody at the start of the season when the Hammers lost four league games on the bounce.

Does he give them the opportunity to earn back their places? Or does he stick with the men who have performed better this season?

Zabaleta would surely benefit from the rest, which is also a consideration. Masuaku should be able to play three games a week, so perhaps the bigger decision is out on the left.

The Verdict

Both Fredericks and Cresswell have seen what the standard is now; Zabaleta and Masuaku have set it.

They both deserve a game to try and regain their form. A strong performance against fourth tier opponents won’t tell Pellegrini much about their ability; more about their ability to win back their place.



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