By Joe Ellis

9th Nov, 2022 | 6:46pm

West Ham United XI v Blackburn: 11 changes sees Nayef Aguerd return

West Ham United will look to fire themselves into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup when they welcome Blackburn Rovers to the London Stadium.

Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side have enjoyed a brilliant start to the season where they sit just two points behind Championship table-toppers Burnley.

Rovers are yet to draw a game this season and that record is going to still be intact after they take on the Hammers with extra time and penalties on standby should they be needed.

For David Moyes’ men, the cup offers a much-needed break from Premier League action which has seen them win just one of the last five matches after Crystal Palace won at the London Stadium.

With less priority on the Carabao Cup, Moyes has perhaps understandably made wholesale changes to the side that were beaten by Palace with Alphonse Areola in between the sticks and Nayef Aguerd back in the defence among those changes.

Freedom

The intense pressure Premier League football puts on players can often see them tense up and shrink into their boxes so a rare cup fixture could be the chance for many to release the shackles somewhat.

There is a lot of attacking creativity and talent at Rush Green that can’t quite emerge to full capacity against the very best the Premier League has to offer so lower-league opposition should provide the perfect platform for confidence to grow.

Blackburn are no pushovers, however, with Ben Brereton Diaz the obvious danger man in attack and some very technically gifted midfield players who have emerged from the academy at Ewood Park.

Harry Pickering can also deliver a wicked delivery from left wing-back so West Ham have to be on their toes to avoid a potentially embarrassing early exit from the competition.

They will have seen League Two Gillingham go to Brentford and win on penalties on Tuesday (8 November) and be determined not to be put under that same umbrella.