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How West Ham will now line up until reinforcements are made after injury fears are realised
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How West Ham will now line up until reinforcements are made after injury fears are realised

How West Ham will now line up until reinforcements are made after injury fears are realised with the club confirming Kurt Zouma and Ben Johnson blows.

West Ham have confirmed Zouma sustained a hamstring tendon injury in the win over Chelsea.

And Johnson, who was also forced off against the Blues, has suffered a low-grade hamstring strain.

“A scan on Monday revealed the damage and the 27-year-old French international defender has already started his recovery programme at Rush Green under the supervision of the medical team,” West Ham said in a statement on Zouma.

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“Meanwhile, Ben Johnson has also started his rehabilitation after suffering a low-grade hamstring strain during the 3-2 win against our London rivals.

“Everyone at West Ham United would like to wish both Kurt and Ben all the very best in their recover.”

Zouma had forged a formidable partnership with big Hammers leader Angelo Ogbonna.

But the Italian was ruled out for the season with an ACL injury picked up in the 3-2 win over Liverpool.

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David Moyes also has Ryan Fredericks out and his squad – particularly defensively – is starting to become extremely stretched.

Zouma is likely to be out for around four months while Johnson could face around three to four weeks on the sidelines.

So as the dust settles on the bad news, we take a look at how West Ham will line-up now – at least until reinforcements arrive in the January transfer window.

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Many fans want to see Alphonse Areola as West Ham’s number one with question marks over some of his reaction speed for some of the goals conceded season.

But Fabianski has not been guilty of any real howlers so is likely to remain as first choice – just – for now.

In defence the Hammers have Vladimir Coufal back and in form. And Aaron Cresswell should be back this weekend meaning three of the back five in place.

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At centre-back Moyes has little option but to pair Craig Dawson and Issa Diop. The duo have a mixed record together and had looked good in the cup and Europa League until a worrying performance in the 2-2 draw away at Genk.

Dawson and Diop will have to step up in the absence of Zouma and Ogbonna. And this could be Diop’s chance to prove he has a long-term future at West Ham after falling down the pecking order under Moyes.

Another option Moyes has is to play Cresswell at left centre-back alongside Dawson and Diop and deploy Arthur Masuaku at left wingback.

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An alternative might also be using Alex Kral in defence as he has played there before. And of course Moyes could blood youngsters Jamal Baptiste and Aji Alese too if he feels they are up to it right now.

Playing Declan Rice at centre-back would only happen in a mid-game emergency as West Ham would simply lose too much in midfield if their talisman shifted into the backline.

Rice also recently made it clear he does not see himself as a defender.

So he will continue in the middle of the park alongside the slowly improving Tomas Soucek.

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Depending on whether Moyes switches to a back five or not, there looks to be three players fighting for two positions – Manuel Lanzini, Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals.

The Spaniard is expected to start more often than not and at the moment Lanzini has the shirt over Benrahma – although there were reports he was ‘limping heavily’ after the Chelsea win.

Michail Antonio will always start up top while fit and Jarrod Bowen on the right or alongside him – again depending on whether Moyes goes with wingbacks.

How West Ham will now line up (with a back four):

Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio.

How West Ham will now line up (with a back five):

Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Masuaku, Soucek, Rice, Lanzini or Fornals, Bowen, Antonio.

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