By James Kinsella

West Ham welcome Southampton to their new stadium having reached nowhere near the heights of last season and leaking goals.

Their manager Slaven Bilic was not shy in expressing his disappointment at last week’s performance in going down 4-2 against West Brom. In his post-match interview, he described his team’s display as ‘embarrassing’ and ‘weak’.

“We have a problem we have to solve and that starts with me,” the Croat admitted.

They will hope it starts against Southampton when they can welcome back Winston Reid, but the Hammers are still without Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Aaron Cresswell who are joined in the treatment room by Arthur Masuaku – giving them a major headache at left-back.

West Ham did get back to winning ways, albeit unconvincingly, during the week with a late 1-0 victory over League Two Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup.

Their fans will hope this gives the team the confidence boost they need heading into a run of winnable games with three of their next four games at home.

The Hammers will need to tighten up at the back, as only Stoke have conceded more goals this season and they have leaked two or more goals in 12 of the last 15 games.

West Ham have scored in their last 13 games at home with Michail Antonio netting five goals, all headers, in particularly good goalscoring form.

Southampton had also had a sluggish start to the season before three back-to-back victories in the Europa League, the Premier League and the EFL Cup.

The 1-0 win against Swansea City last week was the Saints’ first win of the season and their first clean sheet since September.

Claude Puel is confident of more clean sheets and more impressive results moving forward.

“We are strong in defence and also with good possibilities on the counter attack, playing good football,” the Frenchman said following last week’s victory.

Jay Rodriguez is out with a groin problem but Charlie Austin is pushing for a start after finding the net four times in his last three games – including that winner at Swansea.

The referee in this one, Jonathan Moss, has shown a red card to a player in each of the last six games he has officiated involving West Ham so there could be some controversy but there is definitely a very realistic chance of goals here.

West Ham possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Nordveit, Collins, Reid, Ogbonna; Noble, Kouyate; Feghouli, Payet, Antonio; Zaza

Southampton possible starting XI (4-3-3): Forster; Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Romeu, Davis, Clasie; Tadic, Redmond, Austin

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yer clueless mate!!!!!!! We have defensive issues and you want to play a center midfield player at right back instead of Arbeloa and Byram!
    Maybe we can poach Rooney off Man U next year and slot him in there too!!

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