Two of the more in-form teams clash at Upton Park this weekend with West Ham taking on Swansea. Both teams have enjoyed pleasant starts to the season and will want to continue the momentum going into a busy period of fixtures all round. Only two points separate the two impressive outfits who have disregarded the notion that they might struggle at the start of this season.
West Ham have started the season brilliantly and sit in fifth place after winning half of their 14 games so far. There had been cries from the Hammers’ fans last year for them to play a more expansive brand of football and their wish has been granted so far. A blend of honest defenders, hard working midfielders and clinical strikers have led to wins against the top two of last season, Liverpool and Man City. They did however, fall behind in midweek against West Brom but a dogged display helped them to come from behind and secure another win.
Swansea started the season on fire, winning their first three games but then went onto win none in their next five. Now the Swans are on a run of one loss in six and will need to continue this sort of form if they are to achieve hopes of a European spot for next season. Bony and Sigurdsson have worked up a brilliant partnership so far but it was the duo of Ki and Routledge who helped the team secure all three points at the Liberty Stadium against QPR.
The Hammers are more than likely to be without Mark Noble who is still recovering from a calf problem but hope to welcome back Song (knee) and Sakho (back) from their layoffs.
Swansea are only missing Fernandez who, like Noble, is also suffering from a calf injury but Garry Monk has the rest of his team available for the weekend.
Swansea: Fabianski, Richards, Bartley, Williams, Taylor, Britton, Ki, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero, Bony.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Song, Nolan, Amalfitano, Downing, Valencia, Carroll.
- West Ham are unbeaten in their last three league meetings with Swansea (W2, D1) and haven’t conceded a goal in those matches.
- West Ham’s tally of 24 points from 14 matches represents their best start to a Premier League campaign. The last time they had a better tally in the top flight was in 1983-84 (29 pts).
- Swansea are also enjoying their best Premier League start, with 22 points from 14 matches.
- Kevin Nolan needs one goal to reach 100 in league football.
- Only Cesc Fabregas (10) has created more league goals than Sigurdsson this season (8).
- 15 of Swansea’s 19 league goals this season have been either scored or assisted by one of Wilfried Bony or Gylfi Sigurdsson.
- Andy Carroll hasn’t scored or assisted a single goal in any of his last 10 Premier League appearances for West Ham (756 mins).
Recent Head to Heads
2013/2014 Sat 01 Feb West Ham Utd. 2 – 0 Swansea City
2013/2014 Sun 27 Oct Swansea City 0 – 0 West Ham Utd.
2012/2013 Sat 02 Feb West Ham Utd. 1 – 0 Swansea City
2012/2013 Sat 25 Aug Swansea City 3 – 0 West Ham Utd.
West Ham: Kevin Nolan
West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan will be delighted to have got himself his first goal of the season in West Ham’s 2-1 win over West Brom. As Nolan is the captain and was West Ham’s top scorer last season, many may feel as though he deserves a place in the team but with more quality in Sam Allardyce’s squad compared to last season, Nolan needs to continue to play well consistently or face being left out of the first team. Nolan does offer a great goal threat for the side and has shown he can be a handful to goalkeepers with a 100% shot accuracy so far this season.
Swansea: Wayne Routledge
Wayne Routledge is another player like Nolan who will look to take his good form into this match after scoring a goal in Swansea’s 2-0 win over QPR. That is now his third goal this season showing how important he is to the side and Swansea are unbeaten in all three matched he has scored in. Not only has he shown that he is a goal scoring threat but also that he is a dynamic player with 11 chances created and an assist to his name. As well as providing an attacking threat he has also shown that he is good at helping keep possession with a 78% passing accuracy from 305 passes.
Both teams have had good starts to the season but will do well to continue that form during the busy winter period. I’m expecting a tight match so I’m going to sit on the fence for this one and call it a draw, which wouldn’t be a bad result for either team.
My Prediction – West Ham 1-1 Swansea City