November and December are usually hectic months in the football calendar but having only played three games so far during this period, West Ham United’s heavy schedule of games continues tonight with a second London derby in the space of four days as Brentford visit the East End.
The Hammers remain sixteenth in the Premier League table after the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day and they know that this is a vital game if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
The hosts haven’t won a top-flight encounter since beating newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth here back on October 24 and the home faithful will want to see their team rediscover that winning formula. However, achieving that aim might not be as easy as it sounds because before the break for the Qatar World Cup, the visitors picked up a surprising 2-1 victory at Manchester City and they will also be keen to build on the home point against Tottenham Hotspur four days ago.
This encounter will give both teams a chance to test each other ahead of a second meeting between the two in the FA Cup third round tie at The Gtech Community Stadium in eight days time.
A win here would be a good start in getting David Moyes’ men back on track ahead of what is a crucial month in January.
Michail Antonio was fit enough to start against the Gunners four days ago but Moyes stated in his pre-match interview ahead of the game in North London that Gianluca Scamacca may make a quicker than expected return from his ankle injury.
Vladimír Coufal is likely to retain his place, although Ben Johnson may be preferred to the Czech as the manager looks ahead to Elland Road. Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini might also come into the Scotsman’s thinking if he decides to make changes ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Leeds United.
Tonight’s match is a 7:45pm kick-off and the referee is Darren England.