Rock-bottom Sheffield United still searching for first win as they face solid Hammers
Sheffield United 1-1 West Ham
Sheffield United have endured a terrific start to the season, losing seven of the eight matches which they have played, picking up a solitary point against fellow-strugglers Fulham last month.
Five of their seven defeats have only been by a single goal margin, however, which shows that their general play has not been as bad as some of their critics would suggests.
Nevertheless, their form is certain to bring relegation unless they can make some quick improvements.
West Ham have looked great on some occasions this season, as well as showing that there is still much to do to break into the top half of the table.
They’re picking up points with enough regularity to suggest they’ll be comfortably safe this season, with the potential to climb higher with some improvement.
This could be a close-fought game, and Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United will have prepared to fight to get something out of it.
Form Guide (all comps): LDLLL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Despite defeats, there have been positives from all of their games
West Ham have not been consistent enough to rule out Sheffield United this weekend
Reasons to be fearful:
Signing Rhian Brewster has not adapted well since joining
Current form is a sign of relegation
Chris Wilder must be left scratching his head at watching his side, who last season played brilliantly for much of the season and finished in the top half of the table.
As it currently stands, The Blades will be going down with a whimper and remain a shadow of the resilient side that they were for much of last season.
Big money signing Rhian Brewster arrived from Liverpool and appeared a good choice to help United fire themselves up the table.
Unfortunately, the youngster is yet to adapt to the Premier League and Wilder must decide whether to take him out of the team while he brings himself up to speed.
They must improve their chance creation against West Ham, with only four goals scored so far.
Star Man – David McGoldrick
Scored to take the lead against Chelsea, only for his side to lose their way. He represents a solid presence in front of goal
Form Guide (all comps): WDDLW
Reasons to be cheerful
Relatively favourable fixtures coming up
Picked up important points against big teams
Reasons to be fearful
Haven’t scored more than a goal a game in three matches
Must improve consistency to climb the table
Considering West Ham have already played most of the league’s ‘big teams’, manager David Moyes will be happy with how his side have performed.
Wins against Wolves and Leicester, as well as draws against Spurs and Manchester City have shown a resilience that was missing for most of last season.
Sure, they have tasted defeat to both Liverpool and Arsenal, but with a comparably favourable set of fixtures coming up in December, Moyes will see this as an opportunity to kickstart a push for the top half.
To do this, they will have to be more consistent in their performances, especially against the teams in the lower half of the table.
They have only scored a goal in each of their last three matches, showing that they need more from their strikers. Michail Antonio has been a big miss, though may return from injury this weekend.
Star Man – Michail Antonio
The Hammers have missed his goals due to injury, but he could return this weekend in a big boost to his team.
Result will depend on which West Ham show up
Sheffield United will try to be tough to break down
Antonio’s return could be beneficial for The Hammers
If West Ham turn up with the same attitude which they showed in wins over the likes of Leicester and Wolves, they could find some joy against Sheffield United this weekend.
David Moyes will see this as a fixture to prove that The Hammers can despatch teams at the bottom of the table comfortably in his quest to move further up the table.
The Blades can make it tough for West Ham, but do they have the quality to hurt them at the other end? That remains to be seen.
Sheffield United 1-1 West Ham