Brighton are next up for West Ham on Friday night at the London Stadium and this is a game that has to be viewed as a must win. Brighton are back in the top flight for the first time in 34 years and have made a steady start and sit just above the Hammers on goal difference. Brighton’s expectations are very different to West Ham and given the club was homeless and virtually bankrupt just 20 years ago, 17th place would be seen as a real achievement this season. Brighton are a very organised side in typical Chris Hughton style but in midfielder Anthony Knockaert they have a real match winner who was comfortably the best player in the Championship last season.
West Ham came very close to a great win at Burnley although a draw should be taken as a huge plus but it could have been so different if it wasn’t for Andy Carroll’s red card. Carroll’s suspension will force West Ham to play in a less direct way and will hopefully mean we see more of our creative players work. Lanzini and Arnautovic have both had stop-start seasons so far and I am hoping that along with Antonio, West Ham will have enough to beat Brighton. I expect West Ham to see a lot of the ball and I would want Hernandez to ply his trade within the width of the goal. West Ham have to play without fear and start fast matching Brighton’s work rate first and then earn the right to play. Noble and Kouyate must recycle the ball early to the front five and Hernandez’s movement should create the space for Lanzini to operate in. West Ham may need to be patient and with Sahko out injured I would like to see the in-form Toni Martinez on the bench to bolster the attacking options, I am confident of a West Ham win but
a positive start is a must.