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FPL tips: Are West Ham gearing up for heavy Christmas rotation?

By December 10, 2021No Comments

The hectic festive fixture schedule often prompts a mixture of excitement and fear for FPL bosses, with Premier League sides likely to rotate more than usual during the congested period.

But owners of West Ham players in particular may have reason to fear the worst this winter.

The Hammers are the least changed team so far this season, and look to be gearing up for an increase in squad rotation as Christmas draws near.

FPL tips: Are West Ham gearing up for heavy Christmas rotation? PLZ Soccer

David Moyes’ side face Burnley, Arsenal, Norwich, Southampton, Watford and Crystal Palace between 12 December and 1 January, a game roughly every three days.

But as the team with the fewest changes to their line-up each week, Moyes may be forced to start rotating more regularly after a hectic first half of the season.

The Hammers have fielded an unchanged line-up seven times in the league this season and average just 0.71 changes per game – most of the league’s teams average two changes or more.

Moyes has made no more than two line-up changes from one gameweek to another this term, a fact which seems unusual given his team’s involvement in a number of competitions.

West Ham have played 15 Premier League games along with six Europa League ties and two League Cup fixtures – they are currently still in three cup competitions and sit fourth in the league.

Fighting for meaningful results on four fronts is a task not taken lightly by the most successful clubs in the world – West Ham will have to be carefully managed over Christmas to make sure they are fresh enough to do themselves justice.

FPL tips: Are West Ham gearing up for heavy Christmas rotation? PLZ Soccer
West Ham have enjoyed an impressive start to the season (John Walton/PA)

That rotation policy already looks to be creeping in at the London Stadium, with Moyes making two changes to his line up in both gameweek 14 and gameweek 15.

So which players could be affected from an FPL point of view?

West Ham’s most owned players are Michail Antonio (39.6 per cent) Said Benrahma (19.8 per cent) Aaron Cresswell (9.7 per cent) Declan Rice (5.8 per cent) and Jarrod Bowen (5.6 per cent).

All have played more than 1100 minutes in the league so far this season – serious injuries to any of them would make a major dent in Moyes’ plans.

Antonio began the season sensationally with four goals and four assists in his opening three games, but has since gone off the boil.

He still ranks number one for Threat and Creativity among all PL forwards, but has added just two goals and one assist since GW3.

As West Ham’s only FPL-categorised forward, will he be carefully managed through December?

FPL tips: Are West Ham gearing up for heavy Christmas rotation? PLZ Soccer
Michail Antonio, right, has gone off the boil following a blistering start to the campaign (Tim Goode/PA)

Benrahma similarly has seen a dip in goal contributions after a quick start – would a Christmas rest see him return to form in the new year?

Bowen, however, appears to be in fine fettle with two goals and four assists since GW10 – at £6.5m he looks a huge bargain for a midfielder, but will he get regular minutes over Christmas?

These are questions Moyes and FPL managers around the world will be pondering – for FPL bosses, getting 11 players on the pitch may be the priority.