West Ham United will host Southampton on Boxing Day, potentially requiring all three points to retain their spot in the top five of the Premier League standings. Meanwhile, the Saints are without a win in their last six top-flight fixtures, leaving the visitors down in 15th position ahead of the trip to the London Stadium.
With such a hectic schedule, and with important players injured, it was almost inevitable that West Ham would go through a period of inconsistency. Nonetheless, David Moyes would have expected considerably more than a five-point haul from six Premier League games, with their only victory coming against Chelsea at home.
Michail Antonio’s poor form in the final third has affected the Hammers, as has his coronavirus-related absence during the festive season. Although, it has given other players a chance to convince Moyes that he shouldn’t rely so much on him. In his absence, Jarrod Bowen has risen to the occasion and has been the Hammers’ man in form. Jarrod Bowen scored a fantastic goal in the EFL Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, but he has battled for consistency in the final third, with that strike being only his fifth of the season. He has 2.46 shots per 90 minutes and has been able to keep 41.46% of his shots on target.
Up until the start of November, there were signs that Southampton had fully recovered from their slow start by collecting 10 points over a four-match period. However, just three points have come from their last six fixtures, mounting the pressure on Ralph Hasenhuttl with just three wins being recorded from 17 games this season.
The Saints secured a point against the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace last week. They attempted a total of 12 shots on goal with only three shots on target. But they were able to keep two of their three shots on target and were clinical with those efforts on goal. Chelsea loanee Armando Broja, continues to be the bright spot of an underwhelming campaign, the 20-year-old having now scored four times from just 621 minutes of top-flight football. He also got their second goal against Crystal Palace.
Although just five points separate ninth and 15th, Southampton have not looked like a side who are capable of putting together the kind of results which can quickly move them up towards mid-table. West Ham, on the other hand, still have a great chance to be in the top four and will look to do so in their upcoming games.
West Ham United predicted starting lineup:
Fabainski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Johnson; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Yarmolenko.
Southampton predicted starting lineup:
Caballero; Livramento, Salisu, Lyanco, Walker-Peters; Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond; Broja, Tella.