Southampton Match Preview
Since September’s international break, West Ham United have played all their Premier League games in Stratford and now they face a double-header on the road, starting with the trip to Southampton this afternoon.
The Hammers ensured their progression to the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout stages on Thursday night and now will look to keep their current run of good form going in the top-flight with a third consecutive win. The East Londoners have recently beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as newly-promoted Fulham.
The Saints are a team that the Irons have a successful record against. Having said that though, the two sides met on three occasions last season and West Ham only had a solitary point to show for their efforts, as the league meeting here last September ended in a goalless draw.
They also met in an FA Cup fifth round tie back in March with the hosts running out 3-1 winners.
Although the home side will be the fresher of the two teams having had a full week to prepare for this game, the visitors must fancy their chances of collecting three points as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men haven’t won a game since beating Chelsea in front of their own fans back on 30 August.
David Moyes will have to assess the fitness of both Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson after the defensive pair picked up injuries in the win over RSC Anderlecht three days ago. If neither of them make the starting line-up, then Aaron Cresswell will retain his place and play alongside Thilo Kehrer in defence.
Kurt Zouma and Michail Antonio have been training this week following illness and could return to the starting line-up.
Ben Johnson, Vladimír Coufal and Emmerson Palmieri are options that are available to replace Ogbonna and Dawson if they don’t make the squad.
Łukasz Fabiański and Alphonse Areola will once again rotate with the Pole set to start on the South Coast, while Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals, Tomáš Souček and Gianluca Scamacca were all dropped to the bench on Thursday but are likely to be handed starts in Hampshire.
Lucas Paquetá started both games this week and Moyes will have to decide whether to rest the midfielder and give a first domestic start to Flynn Downes.
Saïd Benrahma will be pushing for a start after getting his name on the scoresheet last time out.
Maxwel Cornet will miss this game as he is still recovering from a thigh strain but the Scotsman did state in his pre-match news conference on Friday that the winger may have a chance of featuring in Wednesday’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
The match is a 2pm kick-off and the referee is Peter Bankes.