West Ham take on Brighton in an entertaining Boxing Day clash
West Ham to win 1-0
Despite being more than a third of the way through the season, the Premier League table is still so congested that just a couple of bad results can send you spiralling down.
This has been the fate of West Ham of late, just a few weeks ago flirting with the top four positions, but now sitting in 10th place after a run which has seen just one win come from their last four matches.
They face a tough run of fixtures coming up into the New Year, so will be eager to regain their winning ways here against a stuttering but tough to beat Brighton side.
Brighton are really struggling to convert good performances into points and have managed just two wins all season. They have only lost six times, however – only one team in the bottom half has lost fewer – showing that they can be tough to beat.
This should be an entertaining clash.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWDL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Great form despite defeats of late
Michail Antonio could be fit to play a part
Reasons to be fearful:
Tricky fixtures coming up over the New Year period
Brighton are not easily beaten
After winning three league matches on the bounce, West Ham have slipped somewhat, winning just one of the next four matches and have found themselves tumbling from 5th to 10th.
That being said, their defeats have come against better teams with Manchester United and Chelsea both scoring three goals against The Hammers of late.
It has been a rare period of indifferent form for David Moyes’ side after performing with great consistency for the first part of the season.
He will not panic, however. Brighton, although not losing too many games, have struggled to score multiple goals and put teams to bed, so if West Ham can find their feet here, they could claim victory.
The Hammers must put their negative record against Brighton behind them, of course – they have not won any of their last six fixtures, losing and drawing three each.
Star Man – Jarrod Bowen
Showed glimpses of his quality in the defeat against Chelsea, and overall has enjoyed a great season at West Ham.
Form Guide (all comps): DLLDD
Reasons to be cheerful
Just two defeats shows resilience
Picking up just enough points to stay above drop zone
Reasons to be fearful
One win in 12 shows lack of quality
Tariq Lamptey to miss out
The biggest priority for a side like Brighton on a yearly basis is to survive in the Premier League at the end of each campaign.
The longer they can remain in the top division, the more money the club will pull in, the better the players they will attract and the more fans they’ll draw to their matches (in normal times, anyway).
Brighton are succeeding in doing that on recent showing, but only just. They sit two points above Fulham in 18th place, but are just not picking up enough wins to put a buffer between them and the danger zone.
While Brighton are hard to beat, they are still unable to score more than they are conceding – only on four occasions from 14 matches have they scored more than a single goal in games.
Star Man – Danny Welbeck
Scored against Sheffield United to earn a point in their last match, and has looked sharp since joining the Seagulls.
Should be a fairly even match
Brighton will look to sit deep
West Ham slight favourites
Brighton will have to once again make do without unique right-back Tariq Lamptey due to injury, which is another blow to a side already struggling to create chances.
West Ham’s Michail Antonio could be fit to play a role at some stage, and could help sway the match in The Hammers’ favour.
Either way, West Ham have the qualities to get back on the winning road here.
West Ham to win 1-0