West Ham United v Southampton




Charlie Austin is Southampton’s top scorer despite having not played since Christmas because of a hamstring injuryTEAM NEWS

Arthur Masuaku returns for West Ham after completing a six-game ban and Edimilson Fernandes is fit again.

The Hammers will assess the players involved in international duty, including Manuel Lanzini, who suffered a knock whilst representing Argentina.

Southampton striker Charlie Austin is back in contention after three months out with a hamstring injury.

Steven Davis may return after missing five games with a similar problem.

Ryan Bertrand is expected to play, having withdrawn from England duty as a precaution because of hamstring tightness.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

John Motson: “West Ham have had three weeks to deal with the fall-out from their home defeat by Burnley, which was overshadowed by pitch invasions and protests in front of the directors’ box.

“There will be a bigger police presence on Saturday but amid the backdrop of security concerns it should not be forgotten that this is a huge game for West Ham, who would drop below Saints – and probably into the relegation zone – if they lose.

“Five of the Hammers’ remaining eight matches are at the London Stadium, but that won’t prove much of an advantage if the atmosphere remains toxic.

“Southampton made a winning start under Mark Hughes by beating Wigan in the FA Cup, but this will be his first league match, and their record of one win in 17 top-flight games means that Premier League survival – rather than cup success – is his immediate priority.”

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

West Ham manager David Moyes: “We have got such a strong and powerful support base that when it’s good, it’s good but when it’s not, they let you know.

“We have to make sure that we are in the game, we’ve got to make sure we don’t let anything alter our mindset. I think the players are in a different mindset now. They are prepared.”

Southampton manager Mark Hughes: “This is a key game for both sides. At this end of the season you can damage your rivals’ prospects while enhancing your own.

“This is a great club with some exceptional people and we’ve got the tools to get the job done in this eight weeks.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

This is a massive game for both teams, and it is very tricky to call.

I am sure Mark Hughes will see his Southampton side get the bounce that most new managers get, with improved performances as well as results – but he might have to wait for it.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v This Country star Charlie Cooper

Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor gameMATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

Southampton have won three of the last four meetings.They could complete a league double against the Hammers for the first time since the 1997-98 season.The last three meetings between these sides have produced a total of 12 goals – including five when Saints beat the Hammers 3-2 in August’s reverse fixture.

West Ham United

West Ham have lost three league games in a row by a margin of three or more goals for the first time since March 2008.The last English top-flight side to lose four matches in a row by such a margin were Nottingham Forest in 1968.If they lose, the Hammers will become the 16th club to suffer 1,000 defeats in the English top flight.West Ham could fail to score in consecutive home league games for the first time since November 2013.Marko Arnautovic has not scored or provided an assist in any of his last three Premier League appearances. He had contributed seven goals and three assists in his previous nine games in the division.

Southampton

Saints have won only two away games in the Premier League this season, which both came against the side who were bottom of the table at the time: Crystal Palace in September and West Brom in February.Southampton have won just once in their last 17 league fixtures (D9, L7).Mark Hughes will become only the second person to manage six different clubs in the Premier League. Sam Allardyce has been in charge of seven.Hughes has not won his first league match in charge of a club since September 2004 at Blackburn – in his four subsequent jobs he has drawn once (with Fulham) and lost three (with Manchester City, QPR and Stoke).Saints’ last seven managers in the Premier League have failed to win their opening top-flight game since Paul Sturrock oversaw a 2-0 victory against Liverpool on 14 March 2004.SAM’s verdictMost probable score: 1-1Probability of draw: 28%Probability of home win: 37%Probability of away win: 35%

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.



Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43524309

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