Swansea City travel to Upton Park to take on West Ham in the early Saturday afternoon kick-off. The two teams are separated by seven league places but only five points, with West Ham in 18th with 19 points and Swansea in 11th with 24. It is a big game for the Hammers as a win will lift them out of the relegation places. Sam Allardyce will hope that his side can build on their draw at Stamford Bridge in midweek and take all three points. Michael Laudrup’s Swansea have had a tough season with the strains of Europa League football. A win could move Swansea into the top half if results go their way, and that is very much the place Laudrup will want his team to be come the end of the season.
West Ham go into the game with a much smaller injury list than they have had in recent months. The Hammers will be without full back Joey O’Brien (Dislocated Shoulder) and Midfielder Joe Cole (Groin). Defender Winston Reid could be fit enough to return to the squad after a long term ankle injury. Mohammed Diame faces a late fitness test after sustaining a knee injury against Chelsea clashing with the advertising hoardings.
Swansea are without club captain Garry Monk (Knee), Michu (Ankle), Jose Canas (Ankle) and Michel Vorm. The latter three are still a few weeks away from a return to first team action. Bony will continue to play up front in place of the injured Michu.
When the teams met earlier in the season at the Liberty Stadium, it ended in a 0-0 draw. The two teams have only met three times in the Premier League, and they both have an identical: won one, drawn one and lost one record.
When they met in the Premier League for the first time last season, it was the first league meeting between the two in nearly 30 years.
West Ham have won six of the last ten league meetings between the two sides, losing only twice.
Swansea have not won at Upton Park since August 1956 when they were known as Swansea Town.
Swansea have not won an away game in the Premier League since late November. Similarly, West Ham have not won a home game since late November.
The return of Andy Carroll has been one that the West Ham management have been waiting for all season. Sidelined with a number of recurring injuries, the big forward made his first appearance of the season earlier this month. The former Liverpool man managed 7 goals in 24 games last season, giving him an average of one goal in every 3. His goals have been missed by a struggling West Ham side that have only scored 22 goals this season. Carroll has only managed one shot since his return, which was off target. With three Premier League games under his belt, Carroll should be sharper in the coming weeks. With the faith that Sam Allardyce has put in him, Carroll will need to perform – starting this Saturday against Swansea.
Wilfried Bony has had a good start to life in the Premier League. The Ivorian has managed 13 goals in all competitions, making him the clubs top scorer. His 7 league goals also make him make him their top scorer in the Premier League. Those goals have come every 167 minutes, meaning Bony has averaged a goal every two games. That is an excellent record for the former Vitesse striker, and his goals have eased the burden on Michu to score the Swans’ goals. Bony has scored against the bigger teams in the league such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs. It is important that he begins to score against the smaller teams to move Swansea up the table. With Michu injured, Bony will hope to start and get on the score sheet Saturday lunchtime.
Both teams head into the game without the best of records. West Ham have only won one game in their last ten in the league. Swansea have only won one game in their last eight league fixtures. It will therefore be game that both teams feel they can win. With West Ham’s home record being poor and Swansea’s away record being equally as bad, it is a tough one to call. The game will most likely be similar to their early meeting this season. I predict a 1-1 draw.