Mark Noble is convinced he is in the best form of his career

COMMENT By Matt Farr

West Ham and Burnley go head-to-head on Wednesday night in a clash that could define this season’s relegation scrap, but who makes their combined XI?

Hammers duo Mark Noble and Andre Ayew would miss out on the line-up with Burnley midfield duo Steven Defour and Jeff Hendrick having proved more influential this season.

Hendrick and Noble are equally as important to their respective sides in the midfield department, but based on his contributions for Burnley over the course of the season, the Ireland international has the edge.

He has contributed two goals this season from 12 Premier League appearances this term, including a wonder-striker against Bournemouth on December 10 – compared to Noble’s return of no goals and no assists from 14 league games.

Ayew, meanwhile, misses out in a three-man attack, despite no Burnley men making the cut. That means Clarets forward duo Andre Gray and Sam Vokes are also absent, with Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll picked in their place.

The two Premier League sides face-off at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night and here is our best combined XI:

England international Tom Heaton takes the no.1 jersey from his Republic of Ireland counterpart Darren Randolph.

The Hammers stopper has made a number of impressive saves, but the number of costly errors in his game this season gives Heaton the upper-hand.

Adopting West Ham’s three-at-the-back formation, there are defenders from each side, with Burnley’s Michael Keane joining Hammers duo Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid.

West Ham have not been particularly great defensively this season, but the performances of Reid and Ogbonna in particular haven’t actually been that bad.

As for Michael Keane, he’s an integral part of Sean Dyche’s Burnley squad, and based on his displays so far this campaign, is destined to become one of English football’s best defenders.

In an attacking full-back role are West Ham duo Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio. The pair have pace, good defensive positioning, and are strong in attack. Their attacking threat puts them ahead of Matt Lowton and Stephen Ward.

The central-midfield area, however, is pure Turf Moor blood. Steven Defour has been phenomenal since arriving from Anderlecht in the summer, in what seemed a major transfer coup. The Belgian has two goals and four assists from 15 appearances, and joins team-mate Hendrick.

The three forward players belong to West Ham. Due to their creativity, the inclusion of Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet is a no-brainer. Things haven’t gone great this season, but on their day, both are match-winners. We saw that with Payet last season and at the European Championships in the summer.

The lone-striker is Andy Carroll. He’s had very little action so far this season because of injury, but the impact he will have on the Hammers’ season will be immense. They rely on him as a target-man so much, and he already has one goal since returning from injury.

With four goals this season, Burnley and Wales forward Sam Vokes only narrowly misses out.

Altogether, West Ham contribute seven players to the XI in reply to Burnley’s four, but with so much at stake for both sides, the game will no doubt be much more closely-fought on Wednesday night.

In other West Ham news, Football Insider reveals why this man should be West Ham’s no.1 January target.