Team News: Joao Mario handed first West Ham start, Noble returns


Joao Mario has been handed his first West Ham United start in the Hammers’ Premier League contest against Crystal Palace.

The Portuguese midfielder signed on loan from Inter Milan last week and made his debut for the Club on Saturday, coming off the bench in the FA Cup clash away at Wigan Athletic.

The 25-year-old now gets his first taste of both Premier League football and the London Stadium atmosphere as Mario lines up for his first start for the Irons, in one of six changes to the team.

Captain Mark Noble is also back in the starting XI, having missed out at the weekend, and partners a returning Cheikhou Kouyate in the centre. The skipper is just one goal away from reaching 50 for the Hammers.

Declan Rice returns to the starting XI, as does James Collins, with the duo forming part of the defensive line that will shield Spaniard Adrian, who resumes goal duty in place of Joe Hart.

Angelo Ogbonna keeps his place, as do Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell and Sam Byram, with the latter making his first start in the Premier League this campaign after coming on as a late substitute against Bournemouth last week.

Mexican striker Chicharito is called upon to lead the line for David Moyes’s side, after the 29-year-old equalised for the Irons in the 1-1 with the Cherries in the last Premier League contest.

On the bench, the Hammers have a host of hungry Academy players, who are looking for the chance to prove their credentials on the biggest stage. Toni Martinez is back among the substitutes after starting against Wigan Athletic, as is Josh Cullen.

Jose Fonte returns to the substitutes bench for the Hammers, having not played since picking up an injury in the away fixture against Palace. The Portuguese defender will be eager to return to action against the Eagles.

West Ham United starting XI: Adrian; Byram, Collins, Rice, Ogbonna, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Noble (c), Kouyate, Joao Mario, Chicharito

Substitutes: Hart, Fonte, Oxford, Cullen, Haksabanovic, Quina, Martinez

Crystal Palace starting XI: Hennessey; van Aanholt, Milivojevic (c), Tomkins, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke, McArthur, Fosu-Mensah, Sako, Kelly

Substitutes: Speroni, Ward, Cabaye, Sakho, Lee, Souare, Riedewald