It’s not often we praise an international break for disrupting the domestic fixture schedule, but my god did we all need a break from Premier League football.
This summer’s European Championship needs to quickly be fired to the back of everyone’s minds though, particularly those with any kind of West Ham United affiliation.
No, not because the club are embroiled in a relegation battle and need to screw their heads on to stay up, rather there’s a very real opportunity to qualify for next season’s Champions League. West Ham definitely don’t have the squad depth to cope with anything as silly as that, but it would still be fun if they somehow pulled off the impossible – and as things stand, they actually could do it.
First up in the run-in, a trip to Wolves at Molineux – a ground where the Hammers have come pretty unstuck of late. But can the 4-0 thumping of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side earlier in the season spur David Moyes’ boys on to more unexpected success?
Maybe, if this is the 11 that start the game…
Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – Would understandably have been furious to concede three against Arsenal, given the position West Ham were in. Kept a clean sheet against Wolves earlier in the season, so more of the same here would be champion.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) – Has anybody told you that at just £5m, Coufal is one of the bargain signings of the season? Thought not.
Craig Dawson (CB) – Likewise, have you been informed that the man whose signing from Watford last summer was widely derided by checks notes everybody is actually the east London equivalent of prime Paolo Maldini? Again, thought not.
Issa Diop (CB) – He’s no Angelo Ogbonna, but Diop is ticking along nicely in the Hammers’ defensive pecking order – keeping the ‘general’ Fabian Balbuena on the sidelines.
Aaron Cresswell (LB) – England’s third choice left-back, probably, has the best delivery in the Premier League right now. Wait, you’re not sure that’s true? Well, how else do you explain all of his assists?!
Declan Rice (CM) – Two man of the match performances for England have secured Rice’s position as the most important Three Lion behind Harry Kane. He’s also played every minute of Premier League football this season, because of course he has.
Tomas Soucek (CM) – Scorer of a hat-trick for Czech Republic during the international break, it’s confirmed that Soucek is the greatest thing since sliced bread. He’s also a must pick for West Ham whenever he’s fit.
Jesse Lingard (AM) – Having danced his way to England’s other man of the match award, JLingz has a real opportunity to force his way onto the plane for this summer’s Euros. He’s got more work to do though, starting here.
p class=”tagStyle_q7y9ey-o_O-style_1tcxgp3-o_O-style_48hmcm-o_O-style_1ngkwsz” data-id=”_tlyb9hxkz”>Jarrod Bowen (RW) – Lovely quick thinking from Lingard allowed Bowen to somehow beat Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno at his near post last time out, but the former Hull man needs to stop fading in the second half of matches.
Michail Antonio (ST) – Still doesn’t look 100% fit, if you ask us. Nevertheless, can be relied upon to give maximum effort when the ball is remotely near him, otherwise you’ll probably find him dawdling around at walking pace. All jokes aside, a real threat if on song.
Said Benrahma (LW) – A first West Ham goal would be really, really, really beneficial for fully kickstarting Benrahma’s career in the East End. The Algerian looks more than capable, but is lacking that bit of quality when it ultimately matters.