|A definite ripsnorter!|
With Captain Mark Noble on a suspension, Bilic has a big call to make in terms of his midfield and whether he should persist with the back three set up which has steadied our previously very leaky defence. Central to that call will be the fitness of Reid / Collins to team up with Angelo Ogbonna and, of course, whether Cheik Kouyate should be pushed further forward to add some bite to our attack.
Young Edmilisen Fernandes has done really well since forcing his way into the starting XI. Despite being shifted around the formation, his close control has stood to him and today could well see him given a role somewhat like Ravel Morrison had in the famous 3-0 thrashing of three years ago. It will be a huge day for Pedro Obiang as he will have the opportunity to develop upon a string of decent performances of late but with Nobes in the stands on this occasion Obiang will be the conductor of our midfield orchestra .
Just how Bilic uses Michail Antonio today remains a mystery! Right Back, Right wing, Striker, Goalkeeper? Who knows except the Croat himself! Andre Ayew may get the responsibility up top with Antonio at wing back, but there is also the Diafra Sakho factor to consider as a possibility. Mr Sakho seriously damaged his popularity at the club last year and may well be just being prepared for a January exit, but many fans would love to see him properly back in the picture at West Ham. We expect him to come off the bench for the final fifteen .
In the goals there is also much to ponder with Darren Randolph really pushing for a starting role. Adrian is a great keeper but he has become erratic this season and may have cooked his goose with a poor display against Stoke.
And then there's a certain Dimi Payet who quite likes a big stage to demonstrate his unusual skillset!
The good news for Hammers fans is that Mystic Mark Lawrenson has predicted that we will lose.
Probable Starting XI: Randolph, Antonio, Reid, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Obiang, Lanzini , Payet, Ayew.