EPL: West Ham United vs Southampton


Sunday's sole English Premier League matchup pits West Ham United up against Southampton. 

Slaven Bilic must be wondering what on earth has happened at West Ham. Last season’s overwhelming momentum has been halted dramatically. To concede four goals in consecutive Premier League games is one thing; for those sides to be the perennially anaemic Watford and West Brom, is something else. 

Quite disturbing really. There have been significant injury concerns, a fact that Claude Puel will no doubt be honing in on. The Saints picked up their crucial first victory of the season over Swansea and will be hoping to capitalize on a side that must be feeling a bit sheepish at present. How the Hammers must long for the simple home comforts of Upton Park at this point in time.  

West Ham Utd v Southampton | Sunday 25 September | Olympic Stadium | 17:00

To Win (90 mins) 

West Ham United 18/10 | Draw 9/4 | Southampton 15/10

West Ham United
West Ham have been diminished as an attacking threat. Injuries to Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll have left them short-changed in the striker department. Simone Zaza has looked soft up front, clearly unaccustomed to the more robust nature of the Premier League.

Despite their shortcomings, West Ham have still remained a potent goal threat. Dimitri Payet has been irresistible, while Michail Antonio has scored in four consecutive games. The colossal Antonio’s success, however, has come at a price. They have looked seriously shaky in his vacated full-back role, while Arthur Masuaku had a shocker against West Brom.
It’s their deficiencies in the full-back positions that concern me. Look at how Jose Holebas and Roberto Pereyra exposed their flanks in that Watford defeat. They must be praying for the return of Aaron Cresswell. Southampton have pace and intricacy in the form of Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic, and I’m sure that they will introduce Long at some point in proceedings.

Mark Noble - as fine a servant as he has been to the club - is starting to look slightly jaded in that holding role, especially when the game is stretched. I think there are some fundamental issues that they need to be overcome by Bilic and crew.

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Puel will feel relieved that his side finally registered that first win. They seem to be favouring a slightly more defensive formation this season, with Oriol Romeu protecting the backline while Pierre-Emile almost forms a second line of cover. While Steven Davis likes to get forward, he seems to be currently inclined to curtail those impulses.

 It seems as if Puel is quite content to attack primarily on the counterattack. Charlie Austin has been deprived of support and will no doubt be hoping that Shane Long will accompany him at some stage.
West Ham’s injury issues seem to have left them with something of an all-or-nothing approach. It almost seems as if they see their defensive situation as a right off. James Collins - standing in for Winston Reid - has looked off the pace while Masuaku gave, quite frankly, one of the worst performances I have seen by a defender in recent times.

Southampton will be aware of this and will look to soak up the pressure with their regimentally arranged walls of defence. I expect Puel’s side to cause exactly the same problems as Watford and West Brom before them.

Verdict: Southampton on the Win/Draw Double Chance (4/10) 
Southampton seem to be a side that is perfectly set up to exploit West Ham’s current predicament. However, the Payet factor lurks ominously in the background and could save the Hammers’ blushes. This should be a high scoring affair, one which I just can’t imagine Southampton losing.

Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets

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