Slaven Bilic relieves the pressure as he turns to a three-man defence, big Andy Carroll and an emphasis on crosses against a stubborn Huddersfield Town. A fortunate deflection sets them on their way, as the popular Chicharito fails to stem a tide of Fantasy sales.
Chicharito blanks in Carroll return
Owned by an army of 1.4 million Fantasy Premier League managers (27.7%), Chicharito was also burdened with the responsibility of 164,000 captaincy picks.
With Carroll returning to make a first start since April, he was very much playing off the big striker, with the Geordie the focal point of the Hammers attack down the middle.
But Chicharito had his opportunity – a first half effort which clipped the crossbar, one of only two touches in the box he enjoyed all evening.
More worryingly, it was the Mexican rather than the battle-weary Carroll who made way first, hooked on 63 minutes.
Shifted by 164,000 heading in Gameweek 4 and another 50,000 before he even kicked a ball last night, Chicharito’s sales now look likely to pick up pace.
His role could change to living off the knockdowns and scraps if the Hammers look to an aerial threat as a priority.
With Andre Ayew replacing him to score and assist, plus the return of Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini perhaps forcing a change of shape, there could even be mounting concerns on Chicharito’s minutes while Carroll remains available.
Doubts over his prospects come as a blow, given the current dearth of viable forward options around the 7.0 price tag.
Cresswell dominates set plays
While Michail Antonio was the most effective and eye-catching attacker on show at the London Stadium, Fantasy managers should also note the role played by Aaron Cresswell throughout.
Deployed as a wing-back in Slaven Bilic’s 3-4-2-1, Cresswell hogged set-pieces right and left and ended the match with 19 crosses – more than any other player in Gameweek 4.
Of course, this might not continue.
Arnautovic has now served out his ban and will surely be a factor on dead balls in the Gameweek 5 trip to West Brom.
Lanzini will be another protagonist at set-plays, although his return date remains uncertain as he continues to recover from a knee injury.