To kick off Matchday Nine of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, we host Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday Night Football on what promises to be an atmospheric night under the lights in Stratford.
Slaven Bilic’s boys come into the tie off the back of Saturday’s frustrating draw at Turf Moor, whereas, Chris Hughton’s men tasted an agonizing 1-1 draw of their own, balancing the scales perfectly heading into the intriguing matchup.
The encounter is scheduled to kick-off at 8 PM tonight (Friday 19 October 2017) and is featuring as Sky Sports’ Live Friday Night Football game.
However, if you don’t have access to a TV tonight you can tune into Live Radio Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, or, you can follow our Live Blog from The London Stadium, bringing you all the build-up, Live Text Commentary and reaction, Live from The Press Box.
The tie will take place at our 66,000-seater London Stadium, a ground which we only currently have access to 57,000 seats of due to violent clashes during home games with Watford and Chelsea last season.
Since moving to Stratford in summer 2016, we have endured turbulent times as poor form and crowd disturbance has marred the stadium’s reputation.
To add to this, Bilic’s boys were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the 2017 World Athletics Championship.
But, to Hammers, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium is slowly starting to feel like home and this evening will be the first time that The Seagulls have visited E20.
Slaven Bilic confirmed in his Pre-Brighton & Hove Albion Press Conference that there will be there will be three certain absentees from his squad in the form of suspended Andy Carroll and injured Diafra Sakho and James Collins.
Meanwhile, he also boasted that Javier Hernandez should recover from a hamstring knock in time to be fit, while he put rather frankly that Adrian should make the bench after suffering from “Diarrhoea”, this week.
Meanwhile, Chris Hughton is expecting to have Irish defender Shane Duffy ready in time for tonight’s trip after being forced off with injury in the second-half of the draw with Everton.
However, the game will come too soon for Sam Baldock and Beram Kayal who are featuring for the club’s U23s this week, while forward Tomer Hemed remains side-lined through suspension.
The teams of West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion have met 48 times in Competition Football, with 18 Hammers wins, 14 draws and 15 Seagulls victories.
The last time that we met the South Coast side was in the Championship season of 2011/2012, where we completed a League double that included a remarkable 6-0 romp at Upton Park in April 2012.
In total, we have been victorious in four of our last six encounters with Albion and have not conceded in our last three meetings.
However, there have only been five fixtures between the two dies in the 21st Century, but they have not been short of goals and entertainment, averaging a shared three goals per game.
Founded in 1901, to say that Brighton & Hove Albion FC have enjoyed a bumpy ride since then is an understatement, but they are currently enjoying a golden era.
Despite never winning an FA or League Cup, The Seagulls have a rich and distinct history within English Football, with numerous League One and Two titles.
But, it has been the incredible journey the that the club as a whole has embarked on in recent years that has earnt them their most significant claim to fame.
Amid money troubles and the looming threat of Relegation to Non-League in 1997, their Goldstone Ground was sold and although they somehow stayed afloat.
Brighton were rendered groundless, eventually striking a deal with the Council to occupy The Withdean Stadium Athletics Stadium, accompanying an upturn in form and new Ownership.
Finally, in 2011, they had a Stadium of their own in the form of The Falmer Stadium, with a capacity of over 30,000. At The Amex, they have only been beaten once this season and have two victories to their name, the kind of form that has seen them up to 14th.
Nowadays, under the technically gifted Manager Chris Hughton, they are 14th place in the Premier League for the first time after promotion from the Championship last season and look set for an even brighter future.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Martin Atkinson will be the man in the middle tonight, with Peter Kirkup and Stephen Child acting as his Assistants, and fellow Referee Neil Swarbrick playing the role of Fourth Official.
So, with all of tonight’s spoils and thrills well and truly previewed, can we make it three games unbeaten and claim a much-needed win to get into the top half on home turf?
Or, can the visitors cause a major upset and head back South with all three points in the bag? To let us know your score prediction and join the pre-match debate, head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter.