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West Ham expected 4-3-3 v Sunderland: Change in system after key man suspension

By Will Butcher

Slaven Bilic is expected to revert his West Ham side to a 4-3-3 system against Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Saturday.

The loss of left-back Aaron Cresswell to suspension means ex-Real Madrid star Alvaro Arbeloa is set to return to Bilic’s starting 11, with Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku still on Bilic’s injury list.

Bilic used a 3-5-2 system against Crystal Palace last weekend, as they won 1-0 with an early goal from Manuel Lanzini at Selhurst Park, despite Cresswell receiving his marching orders.

But at 33, Arbeloa is no longer quick enough to be able to play as a wing back and Bilic may look to revert to a sturdier four-man defence.

Arbeloa is the only change in a game that the East London outfit are expected to win, as David Moyes’ side continue to wait for their first three points of the season.

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Andre Ayew is expected to be rested despite returning to training after recovering from a thigh injury, while attacking stars Gokhan Tore, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho all remain sidelined through injury.

A win for the Hammers against rock bottom Sunderland could see them 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.