Who could play right back for West Ham if Zabaleta needs rest?- Other RB options for Pellegrini

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed in today’s press conference that the club would have to find another right back apart from Pablo Zabaleta to play during their busy set of fixtures in December. Ryan Fredericks was the backup to Zabaleta, but the former’s injury has left West Ham’s depth at RB looking shaky. Pellegrini has said that he does not expect Zabaleta at his age to play all seven fixtures next month.

Last season, West Ham also tried out Michail Antonio and Sam Byram at right back, but the latter’s now on loan at Forest, while the former has been employed as a winger-cum-striker under Pellegrini.

Antonio’s certainly capable of the marauding runs down the wings that Pellegrini expects out of his right back, but would he be a risk defensively given that the Hammers are also having issues at LB, with both Cresswell and Masuaku failing to nail down the spot on a consistent basis. Cresswell v Masuaku could also become Cresswell AND Masuaku if one of the left backs is asked to do a job on the other wing.

One option would be to bring in Ben Johnson from the U23’s, but that would require some real courage on Pellegrini’s part, given that another youngster, Grady Diangana, currently plays RW in this system.

Could one of the midfielders fill that role? Pedro Obiang? Declan Rice? The latter has been Pellegrini’s best midfielder this season, and he may prefer to let him continue his progress.

Maybe give Angelo Ogbonna or Reece Oxford a go, but as a West Ham, those are probably not the names you’d like to see lining up at RB currently.

Zabaleta will definitely play the Newcastle game this weekend, but Pellegrini will have to take a decision soon afterwards. It’s not an easy one, but will be made a tad easier if the Hammers win at St.James’ Park this weekend.


  1. Declan Rice – although you’d be taking away from Midfield a little.

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