Shock return for attacker in Bilic 4-2-3-1: Best Possible West Ham XI v Sunderland
By Will Butcher
Slaven Bilic should risk starting West Ham forward Andre Ayew as his attacking spearhead against Sunderland.
The Ghana international has only just resumed first-team training after a groin injury against Chelsea, but with the form of loanee Simone Zaza, gambling with Ayew is a risk worth taking.
On loan from Juventus, Italy international Zaza has looked out of his depth for the Hammers as his search for his first goal on these shores continues.
With Ayew up front, supported by the likes of Manuel Lanzini ad Dimitri Payet, Sunderland’s defence will find the Hammers attack too hot to handle.
Elsewhere, Alvaro Arbeloa should start at left back as Aaron Cresswell serves a one-match suspension for his sending off against Crystal Palace last weekend.
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Former Croatia and Besiktas manager Bilic used a 3-5-2 system against Alan Pardew’s Eagles, but should revert to a more dominant 4-2-3-1 as they look to control the game against Sunderland.
Algeria international Sofiane Feghouli could be deployed on the right of West Ham’s attack, as Michail Antonio continues to fill in at right back. Former Leeds defender Sam Byram is still recovering after going under the knife.
Goalscorer Lanzini will look to orchestrate the East London side’s attacks, playing ahead of captain Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate while Pedro Obiang drops to the bench.
Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid and goalkeeper Adrian make up the rest of the starting eleven.
A win for the Hammers against rock bottom Sunderland could see the Hammers move as high as 13th place if results go their way.
However, a loss could see them just as easily drop back into the relegation zone after a dismal start that has seen them win just twice in eight domestic games.
In other West Ham team news, fans have reacted on Twitter after Ayew returned to training.