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West Ham United 2 v 3 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 26th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Southampton At West Ham United The Preview
Sunday, 26th Dec 2021 09:18

Can Saints break the run of poor results at the London Stadium when they take on a Hammers side that have found a new lease of life under David Moyes in the last 18 months or so. The injured are returning for Saints who will make the line up?

When Saints travelled to West Ham just before lockdown in March 2020, the Hammers were in big trouble and protests were taking place and threats were being issued from some factions against members of the board.

Another poor performance in East London saw us crash to a 3-1 defeat and the Hammers eventually achieved safety in the final week of the season.

The turn around at the club has been amazing since with a top 6 finish last season and the club up there in that position this season.

This will be the sixth visit to the London Stadium, the first one ended in a 3-0 win for us, but the next four were not so fruitful, the Hammers scoring three goals on each occasion and that goal in February 2020 being the only reply in the quartet of games.

So perhaps we are due a result up there, mind you I said that in the previews at Everton & Arsenal and that didn't go well.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have drawn 3 and lost 2 of the last 5 games and the Hammers themselves have not fared much better, they too have lost twice, but they turned one of what would have been 3 draws into a win, something we should have done against Brighton.

The good news for Saints is that they have virtually a full squad to pick from, it seems only Alex McCarthy is not fit to join the squad with Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong, Adam Armstrong and Fraser Forster all back in training.

Ralph now has to decide how many of them are fit and ready to go and who should perhaps start on the bench.

The first of those decisions will be in goal where Willy Caballero has filled in for the last two games, at Arsenal he was understandably a little shaky not having played for over a year, but at Crystal Palace he put in a decent performance.

So will it be Caballero or will Fraser Forster return for Saints, certainly if he had of been fit he would have surely played in the last three games with Alex McCarthy badly out of form and costing us points.

This is a hard call and one that Ralph will not take lightly.

Another decision will be in the back four, at Palace Jan Bednarek dropped to the bench with Lyanco coming in and in the main the pairing of Salisu and Lyanco worked well, the manager has another call to make.

But when the team is announced the big call will be who comes in from the injury list, who will partner Armando Broja ? will it be Che Adams of Adam Armstrong or will Ralph stick with Nathan Tella who had a good game up at Selhurst Park, the good thing here is that we now have some options.

Stuart Armstrong is back in training but we don't know whether his calf injury is now completely cleared up and also what his core fitness levels are like, will he be fit enough to start or with eyes on the Spurs and Newcastle home games will Ralph hold him on the bench and use him sparingly.

West Ham's injury issues centre around Michail Antonio, the ex Saints loanee has been sidelined with Covid, but if he has tested negative in the last two days he could return to the squad, the question being just how much the illness affected him.

The London Stadium in recent years has joined Goodison Park and Highbury/The Emirates as a bogey ground, can we burst the West Ham Bubbles and get a result there for only the second time, it will be a tough ask

Photo: Action Images



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JoeEgg added 12:56 - Dec 26
Yes Nick - you call everything as a tough ask these days!

Ralph has a full squad to choose from so probably thats where the problems really starts. Mark Lawrenson reckons Saints can win! West Ham badly need a win. And goodness only knows what Ralph's team selection will be - more changes, more uncertainty and meaning no goals for us anyway!
This is a great opportunity for us to grab three points and start generating some much needed confidence. But can you see it really happening? No pressure Ralph!
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underweststand added 14:34 - Dec 26
This is a fixture where we always put in a shift but often come away with less than we deserve. In short, scoring that extra goal, or even one goal may be enough to get 3 points.
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