West Ham United welcome Southampton to the London Stadium as they look to get some sort of a momentum in a bid to achieve their now improbable targets this season. The Saints haven’t been in the best of shapes themselves and currently find themselves in 15th position with 5 points. However, they will fancy their chances against a ragged West Ham who are one of the teams in the dreaded relegation spots.
With the match looking like a must-win affair for the Hammers, we take a brief look at the 3 areas of interest for the fans ahead of the match.
WHO PLAY’S IN DEFENCE?
Slaven Bilic should have read the ominous signs early on during pre-season with Cresswell’s injury proving to be a major setback. And with just 6 games into the season, it has already turned out to be an injury nightmare. Injuries to first team players like Cresswell, Carroll, Ayew, Lanzini and Masuaku has derailed their early season form and it is about time Bilic has to justify the big bucks the managers receive by coming up with a plan.
With both their left-backs injured, it will be interesting to see who is being deployed in that position by the West Ham gaffer.
WILL THE TEAM HAVE THE BALANCE?
The Hammers boast of the players with the highest goals and the highest assists in Antonio and Dmitri Payet respectively. Despite the impressive statistic, they languish in the 18th place in the table. Scoring goals does not seem to be a problem but the worrying factor for Bilic would be their inability to hold onto leads and lacking character when faced with diversities.
The way they have crumbled in the face of any sustained pressure on the goal has been remarkable with 4 goals conceded against Watford and West Bromwich Albion, with neither known for their goal scoring prowess. Slaven Bilic will need his troops to wake up from their slumber and support Payet and Antonio.
WHAT NOW FOR THE HAMMERS?
West Ham United had big plans for the season. They moved into a new stadium and had high hopes from their inevitable Europa League qualification with an apparent healthy transfer warchest. But they failed to secure any of their primary targets and shockingly exited the Europa League at the qualification stage.
With their league campaign also in early crisis, it is to be seen whether the pre-season blueprint is of any use or not. In the hectic and intense competitive nature of the Premier League, Bilic has to do everything in his power to rein in the situation, starting tomorrow.