Lanzini as deep playmaker in Bilic 3-4-2-1: West Ham best possible XI v Leicester
COMMENT By Matt Farr
West Ham should recall Manuel Lanzini to the starting line-up against Leicester in their Premier League meeting on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic should make just the one change, with versatile midfielder Havard Nordtveit dropping out of the side to allow Lanzini to return. The Argentine would slot into the midfield, with Cheikhou Kouyate moving into defence.
Lanzini missed the 4-1 victory over Swansea on Boxing Day with a minor knock, but is back in contention to face Leicester after returning to training.
Kouyate has not been at his best in a three-man defence for West Ham this season, but he has proven to be an important cog in the Hammers machine. His best position is as a defensive-midfielder, but with a creative player like Lanzini returning, Bilic must make the worthy sacrifice.
Darren Randolph kept back-to-back clean sheets against Hull and Burnley, and is on a good run of form. He looks a much better bet than the inconsistent Adrian, who is out of contract in the summer.
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The wing-back positions have been crucial to West Ham this season, and both Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio have had to work extremely hard both at the back and in the final third.
Bilic has struck gold this season with the versatile Antonio, finding an effective role for him in the first team, whilst also being able to accommodate summer signing Andre Ayew.
Mark Noble and Lanzini could inform a superb partnership together in the heart of the midfield, operating from deep whilst also enforcing their creative potential in the final third.
Ayew appears to be finally finding his feet at the Olympic Stadium, netting his first goal of the season against Swansea, while Andy Carroll and Dimitri Payet simply cannot be overlooked given their potential influence in West Ham’s revival.
In other West Ham news, this is how we expect the Hammers to line-up against Leicester.