COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
West Ham midfielder Mark Noble should be axed from the squad to face Hull at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The 29-year-old scored the decisive goal in Wednesday evening’s 1-0 victory over Burnley, but he has struggled to have a say in earlier fixtures this campaign for the struggling Hammers.
The club captain and stalwart plays as defensive midfielder, but both Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang are better at controlling the centre of the park.
Meanwhile, Noble doesn’t do enough going forwards to stake a claim in the attacking midfield three.
Therefore, Noble should be axed by manager Slaven Bilic to face the Tigers in the only change from the midweek victory.
The Croatian manager must revert from his 3-4-2-1 formation used against the Clarets to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 against the struggling 19th place side.
This will then allow Kouyate to come back into the midfield with Havard Nordtveit coming into the team for Noble in the right-back position.
Darren Randolph should keep his place in the net after overtaking Adrian for the number one spot earlier this campaign.
The Republic of Ireland international has been like a new signing for the Hammers and barring a mistake in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool he has made some crucial saves.
Ahead of him must see Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Creswell join Nordtveit in the defence.
The trio were key to the Hammers keeping a clean sheet on Wednesday and they should continue to build on their partnership at the back.
They will also need to be protected by Obiang and Kouyate, who will allow more attacking freedom for star trio Michail Antonio, Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini.
They will be expected to cause problems to the worst defence in the Premier League, which has conceded 35 goals from 16 fixtures.
Additionally, forward Andy Carroll will be looking to continue his return from injury and will be expecting to score his second league goal of the campaign against the Tigers.
A win for West Ham could see them move up to 13th in the Premier League table, but a defeat could see them fall down to 17th.
In other West Ham team news, this Hammers ace has revealed he’s struggling to sleep given the club’s current position.