The weekend’s only Sunday fixture pits Southampton against West Ham in an early season, top half clash. Both teams have started the season with a win, a loss and a draw with West Ham in 8th and Southampton in 10th. The two sides are in their second Premier League campaigns after being promoted in the 2011/12 season, and should find themselves evenly matched. Both sides are coming into the game off the back of losses, with Southampton losing 1-0 to Norwich and West Ham losing 1-0 to Stoke City last time out. Therefore a good result is on both teams’ agenda, with early season nerves likely to have relaxed.
The two teams’ most recent Premier League clash was a 1-1 draw at St. Marys in April. Before that, West Ham came out 4-1 winners when the two sides met at Upton Park. This means that Southampton are looking for their first Premier League victory over the Hammers since December 2002. With both teams being promoted and relegated at different points, their meetings in the league last season were their first in the Premier League since 2003. There have only been two draws in the last ten Premier League clashes between the two sides, so a win for one of the sides, according to history, would be most likely.
Southampton have no new real injury concerns other than defender Jos Hooiveld who has picked up a knock. Pochettino therefore has his whole squad available to him for the game. West Ham’s most notable injury is that of Andy Carroll. The striker has suffered a setback to his recovery from an achilles problem by picking up a foot injury in training this week. As well as Carroll’s absence, the Hammers will be without Joe Cole, who has a hamstring injury, and summer signing Stewart Downing who is out with a leg injury. The Hammers other long term absentee is Alou Diarra who is out indefinitely with knee ligament damage. New signing Mladen Petric could be involved for the Hammers, but Modibo Maiga is expected to continue up front.
Southampton will be looking for Rickie Lambert to continue to be the talisman he has been for the last few seasons. Then England international has managed to score three goals for club and country this season, and Pochettino will be hoping that Lambert’s domestic form will match the form he has showed at international level. Lambert scored fifteen league goals and was the highest scoring Englishman last season. As well as this he contributed five assists for his team. The stat that stands out from last season was his clear cut chance conversion of 56%, which means he converts one in two clear cut chances. This season he has dispatched his only clear cut chance, so last year’s record looks like it could continue.
West Ham will hope that their captain Kevin Nolan will be able to inspire his team to a good result. The Hammers captain, like Lambert, was his clubs top scorer last season also. The midfielder’s knack for getting goals meant he scored ten league goals for West Ham last season, and has already scored this season in the Hammers opening day victory against Cardiff City. Nolan’s Shot Accuracy of 58% last season shows his talent for hitting the target. He has thrived in a role off the main striker in recent seasons, and with the absence of Andy Carroll, Sam Allardyce will want Nolan to take much of the goal scoring responsibility.
Looking at previous results between the teams a draw is not the most likely outcome in this fixture. Pinnacle view Southampton as the favourites at 1.83, with West Ham being backed at 4.98 for the win. The draw is at slightly better odds of 3.62. Southampton’s home advantage may be important in this one as their better home form is what kept them up last season. The Hammers away from saw them lose twelve times on the road and only pick up three victories, so a Southampton win looks the most likely.
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