Following the news that Cheikhou Kouyate will be out of action for the next six weeks, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce may be forced to throw youngster Diego Poyet into the mix.
The Hammers are currently brimming with confidence after their superb 3-1 victory at home to Liverpool on Saturday.
But the loss of Kouyate from the side will be a massive blow. He has started every Premier League game so far this season and has been pivotal to their impressive form.
The Senegalese international could miss up to five league matches with a groin injury and according to David Gold on Twitter he won’t be available until the game against Aston Villa on November 8.
With a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon, the Irons will be more than confident of inflicting more misery on Manchester United and their disastrous defence, however Kouyate’s presence in midfield will no doubt be sorely missed.
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QPR, Burnley, Manchester City and Stoke are the other four games the 24-year-old will miss and Allardyce will hope it does not impact on their form or results.
The midfield powerhouse will also miss Senegal's next two 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, at home to Tunisia on 10 October and then away to the same team five days later.
Chance to shine
While this is bad news for Kouyate and the Hammers, other players will be hopeful of getting a chance to prove their worth in his absence.
Summer signing Poyet could slot in perfectly in the midfield diamond and it would mean that Allardyce need not change the system that has worked so well in the last two matches in order to cover the loss.
At 19, it may be a big ask for Poyet as he only has one Premier League substitute appearance to his name and could be exposed during a tough test in Manchester on Saturday.
However, the youngster demonstrated his quality at Charlton Athletic last season, which persuaded Allardyce to sign him and he is rated very-highly in east London.
A run in the first-team could do his development wonders and he may thrive with the opportunity to show what he can do in England’s top flight.
Alladyce doesn't have many other options, unless he opts to put Stewart Downing in Kouyate's position and perhaps play Mauro Zarate or Morgan Amalfitano in the attacking midfield slot.
With Kevin Nolan still out injured the gaffer could even choose to revert back to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 when they take on United to try and stifle their array of attacking talent.
However, he may be better served sticking to his guns and trying to expose their defensive woes like Leicester City did at the weekend.
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