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Improving West Ham travel to a Southampton team in trouble
West Ham to win 2-1
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Southampton, St Mary's StadiumBet Now
West Ham have quietly gone about improving their season after what turned about to be a poor start for them.
As often happens, their new summer signings took time to settle and a few existing players didn’t kick into gear straight away.
However, using their good European form as a starting point, the Hammers have now won two on the bounce in the Premier League, pushing them up to 13th and 10 points. All three wins have come in the last six games.
October is an important month for David Moyes’ team, with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to follow. This game, as well as the one against Bournemouth in two weeks time, is vital.
Southampton, on the other hand, are looking like they could be West Ham’s replacement near the foot of the table. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side just cannot get any kind of form together right now.
The Saints have lost four on the spin, five of the last six, and six of their nine games this season.
Reasons to be cheerful:
Two winnable games this week against West Ham and Bournemouth
Won their last game against the Hammers
Reasons to be fearful:
Four defeats on the bounce is hugely worrying
Hasenhuttl has never been under more pressure as Saints’ manager
This is arguably the most important week that Ralph Hasenhuttl has faced as Southampton manager, due to the nature of the two upcoming games.
Against West Ham and Bournemouth, you feel that the Saints need to win at least one of those games. Ideally both, if they can.
Should they lose both, we may see Southampton’s board of directors take a decision to remove their current manager, who is under an immense amount of pressure.
In their last six games, they’ve only scored three goals, while conceding 10 goals in the same period. Their attacking players are not linking up effectively, while their defence isn’t anywhere near tight enough.
Against an improving West Ham, both of those need to improve.
With summer signing Lavia missing in midfield this weekend, captain Ward-Prowse will either be partnered with Maitland-Niles or Diallo, neither of whom have set the world alight.
Star Man – James Ward-Prowse
Southampton’s captain has a huge job on his hands keeping West Ham’s powerful midfield at bay. He has two goals and three assists from his previous appearances against the Hammers.
Reasons to be cheerful
Unbeaten in previous four away games against West Ham
Two wins on the bounce show improvement
Reasons to be fearful
Just one away win all season
Their opponents are fighting for their lives
While West Ham’s European successes this season appear to have been a kickstart for a Premier League revival, you wonder if it will also hinder them in games like this.
With the team constantly playing every Thursday and Sunday, it remains to be seen whether West Ham’s squad can cope with the demands of fighting in four competitions this season.
They must also work to improve their away record in the league, having only claimed one win away from the London Stadium all season.
The Hammers do have positives though. Summer signings Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca are starting to hit top gear, while Jarrod Bowen has rediscovered some of his form from last season.
Star Man – Gianluca Scamacca
The tall centre-forward has quickly established himself as West Ham’s main striker and has scored in the Hammers’ last two league games.
Saints must take the game to West Ham
Team that scores first to win
West Ham’s midfield to overpower Southampton’s
A win for West Ham here would cement their fantastic turnaround after their poor start to the season. It would take them up into the top half and further boost their confidence.
Should Southampton win, it would help ease the pressure on their shoulders a little. In truth, a defeat would lead to even greater questions asked about the manager.
The Hammers have the better team, and if they have recovered from their European game on Thursday, they should win.
West Ham to win 2-1
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