Almost every time that West Ham United have been dropped into the bottom three, they have managed to lift themselves out of it. With the Hammers back in the relegation zone due to other results before the international break, they have to try and do this again when they face a crucial home clash with Southampton this afternoon.
The 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in their last Premier League game on 13 March had taken David Moyes’ side back up to seventeenth place in the table. They will hope to continue their unbeaten start to the year in front of their own fans against the Saints, who are now under the stewardship of Rubén Sellés.
This particular fixture usually ends in favour of the home side but on Boxing Day 2021, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men pulled a rare win out of the hat, having triumphed 3-2.
The Irons go into this game having progressed to the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Europa Conference League after a 6-0 aggregate victory over Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca.
A win here would set the hosts up perfectly for what is a big week of action ahead of them with games against Newcastle United, as well as newly-promoted Fulham on the horizon.
There are suggestions that the team will show some changes from the one that Moyes fielded against the villains, as both Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals may retain their places from 16 March. Saïd Benrahma and Lucas Paquetá may be the ones to miss out. It is as yet unknown whether Michail Antonio has recovered from the calf injury that has kept him out since the trip to Cyprus on 9 March. If the former Nottingham Forest player doesn’t make it however, then Danny Ings is in contention and will be looking to feature against one of his former clubs. Gianluca Scamacca will face a late fitness test on a knee injury to see if he is fit enough to play. Emmerson Palmieri and Nayef Aguerd are also doubtful.
Angelo Ogbonna may also be restored to a top-flight starting line-up after injury and could take the place of Thilo Kehrer, while it remains to be seen whether Vladimír Coufal will feature in this game with the Czech having recovered from injury to take part for his country. Maxwel Cornet will hope he has done enough in recent weeks to be considered for selection from the start here.
Alphonse Areola may retain his place in goal, although Łukasz Fabiański is back in full training after sustaining a facial injury against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest in February.
The match kicks off at 2pm with live coverage being screened by Sky Sports from 1pm. The referee is Paul Tierney.