West Ham United beat two of the three newly-promoted clubs last season and they will be looking to go one better this afternoon, when the current Sky Bet Championship play-off winners Nottingham Forest make the trip to East London.
The last time that the Hammers dropped into the Premier League’s relegation zone, they bounced straight back out of it with three points a week later. If they could do the same against the Tricky Trees, then it will be crucial to maintaining their Premier League status.
The Irons have two more games ahead of them this week and it would be a great start for them if they jump back above AFC Bournemouth by getting their revenge on Steve Cooper’s men after they lost the reverse fixture back on 14 August.
West Ham did all but score at The City Ground and they will look to end what has been a pretty good month on a positive note and start their big week with maximum points.
Just as he did six months ago, Michail Antonio will hope to keep his place and once again start ahead of Gianluca Scamacca. The Italian was in the matchday squad at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and David Moyes now faces a selection dilemma as to who to go with upfront, especially with Danny Ings waiting for his first start.
After sustaining a calf injury in the home match with Wolverhampton Wanderers back on October 1, Maxwel Cornet finally returned to training this week and he could be included amongst the substitutes.
The Hammers’ boss stated in his pre-match news conference on Friday that defender Kurt Zouma is also back in training after missing the last three games with injury. However, it is likely that both Angelo Ogbonna and Nayef Aguerd will remain as the centre- back pairing for this encounter.
Tomáš Souček performed impressively against Antonio Conte’s side last time out and he will be hoping to earn a second consecutive start here and if the Scotsman decides to keep Saïd Benrahma on the bench, then there could be a rare appearance for Pablo Fornals in midfield.
In other news, the draw for the UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 was made on Friday afternoon, with the East Londoners facing a two- legged tie against Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca. The action will begin on Thursday 9 March with European football returning to Stratford a week later.
Back to this weekend and the match is a 3pm kick-off and the referee is Jarred Gillett.