This afternoon West Ham will play Southampton in their first meeting since last seasons Championship campaign, where each side got promoted. Last time out the game finished 1-1 through a Mark Noble penalty and a Hooiveld equaliser. This is game that West Ham are expected to win but it won’t be an easy time. Although the Hammers have got off to a good start this season we have struggled to finish our opportunities. With Southampton however they have scored more goals albeit only 4 but they have had a tougher run of opening game than us. There was the Manchester City match where they nearly snatched it after going 2-1 up however it ended 3-2 to the current Premier League champions. Now City are no easy team to score against with one of the better teams in this division and to score 2, is a job well done.
So where are West Ham in terms of injury problems. Ricardo Vaz Te is still injured after dislocating his shoulder and is expected to be out for about 10 weeks. Jack Collison is improving but is still not expecting to feature in today’s game. Our main concerns lie in injuries to Winston Reid (back) and Guy Demel (thigh). These two players have proved to be key players this season being solid in defence. At least with Reid with have an adequate replacement in James Tomkins. James Tomkins has become frustrated with the lack of first team football this season but this could be his chance to break his way back into the team, however he lacks match fitness. With Guy Demel his back up will probably be Joey O’Brien who I don’t think is Premier League quality, so I would like to see Jordan Spence start. It is believed that Demel and Reid will undergo late fitness tests to see if they are capable of playing today’s game. The only other concern for the Hammers is Alou Diarra who is not expected to be back before Christmas.
Now onto the Saints, they too are not without their injuries. First of all thier record signing Gaston Ramirez will not be available for selection due to a thigh injury. Another player also suffering from a thigh injury is Frazer Richardson. Jack Cork and Danny Butterfield are both out because of knee injuries and Tandanari Lee is out because of an elbow problem. They are though with they key player Rickie Lambert who is likely to feature. He has been on form this season and has not came up short of scoring goals. If we want to win this game this is the man we will have to stop.
I think that West Ham are very capable of winning this game because we have a much stronger squad than we did last season. For example we now have the midfield powerhouse Mohammed Diame who is capable of defending and attacking. We now also have Andy Carroll who could start today and could also open his scoring account for West Ham. With these two players alone we can win this game. COYI
Likely line up: Jussi, O’Brien, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney, Jarvis, Diame, Nolan, Noble, Benayoun, Carroll
Prediction: 2-1 to West Ham