Team News: Joe, Zaba, Arnie and Chicha all handed full Hammers debuts at Old Trafford
Slaven Bilic has handed no fewer than four players their full West Ham United debut in today’s 2017/18 Premier League opener at Manchester United.
Former Red Devils striker Chicharito, ex-Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta, Citizens loanee Joe Hart and ex-Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic are all in the Super Sunday starting XI at Old Trafford.
The quartet become first-team debutants numbers 924, 925, 926 and 927 respectively and the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Hammers to make their bows against Manchester United.
The most-famous West Ham player to debut against Manchester United? That would be Bobby Moore, who was just 17 years and 149 days old when he started the 3-2 First Division win over the Red Devils at the Boleyn Ground back in September 1958.
Amazingly, just two West Ham players have made their Claret and Blue debuts in Premier League fixtures against Manchester United – Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Kurucz in December 2009 and French midfielder Christian Bassila in August 2000.
Hart starts in goal behind a back four of Zabaleta, Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku. For the record, Reid is making his 150th Premier League appearance today, all of which have of course been in a West Ham shirt.
Pedro Obiang and captain Mark Noble – playing his Club-record 291st Premier League game for the Hammers – anchor the midfield.
The three attacking midfield positions are filled, from right to left, by Andre Ayew, Edimilson Fernandes and Arnatuovic, with Mexico superstar Chicharito up front.
The substitutes’ bench combines experience and youth, with goalkeeper Adrian, defenders Sam Byram, Aaron Cresswell, James Collins and Jose Fonte, the versatile Declan Rice and striker Diafra Sakho - back after four months out with a back problem - making up the replacements.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho hands Premier League debuts to Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku. However, Swedish defender Victor Lindelof is not in the home 18.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia (c), Bailly, Jones, Blind, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Mikhitaryan, Rashford, Lukaku
Subs: Romero (GK), Darmian, Smalling, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Martial
West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Obiang, Noble ©, Fernandes, Ayew, Arnautovic, Chicharito
Subs: Adrian (GK), Byram, Cresswell, Collins, Fonte, Rice, Sakho