West Ham will look to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat against current champions Manchester City, albeit from a dubious penalty decision given against Felipe Anderson, by playing host to the in-form Newcastle United who are unbeaten in their last three matches.

The Hammers’ sturdy defensive performance perhaps was not accredited with such rewards that it deserved, especially with notable key absences from the starting XI. With usual suspects, Fabian Balbuena, Jack Wilshire, Andriy Yarmolenko and Winston Reid out on the sidelines, the Hammers faced further issues in all areas of the pitch, whether this be from injury or through Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics. 

Pellegrini seemed to have his attention drawn towards the later of West Ham’s fixtures, seeing midfield duo Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass, as well as Chicharito drop to the bench for a well-earned rest. Further issues up top saw Lucas Perez dropped from the squad due to behavioural problems, and frontman Marko Arnautovic developed illness last-minute, allowing the big man Andy Carroll to get the nod to start. 

A further crisis at full back saw Aaron Cresswell break his toe against Fulham, while a knock meant that Arthur Masuaku dropped from the squad, making way for academy graduate Ben Johnson, who made his first start for the club, at just 19 years of age. 

Pellegrini will be pleased to see the return of Balbuena in training, meaning he will be available for selection, as well as key players who were rested for the match at City, however, question marks will be cast upon Arnautovic’s return to the starting XI as he still battles illness.

Here is the XI I believe Pellegrini will select for the game: