After a stunning start to the season in which West Ham United kept in touch with the top four, Sam Allardyce’s men have fallen off pace with no wins in regulation time in their last six fixtures in all competitions. They prevailed in a penalty shootout to edge past Everton in the FA Cup 3rd round replay on Sunday night and will be looking to get their league campaign back on track when they host a struggling Hull City at Upton Park on Sunday.
With just four points separating them from 4th place Manchester United, the Hammers will be hoping to finish in the European spots.
Hull City on the other hand are in serious trouble and look set to be involved in a relegation dogfight in the second half of the season as the injuries rear their ugly head. They got knocked out in the FA Cup final rematch against Arsenal before losing by a single goal against West Brom in a relegation six-pointer in which they also lost their two strikers, Abel Hernandez and Nikica Jelavic to injuries which leaves Yannick Sagbo as the only fit striker at the moment.
Their goal difference though is much better than the four teams around them, and therefore even a point can lift them out of the drop zone if other teams fail to pick up a point.
The two teams met earlier in September this season with West Ham coming from behind twice to come away from the KC Stadium with a point as four new signings in Abel Hernandez, Enner Valencia, Mohamed Diame and Diafra Sakho getting on the scoresheet in that order.
Diafra Sakho is suffering a back injury and will be sidelined for Sunday’s game while Cheikhou Kouyate is on international duty with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations.
Winston Reid should return from a foot injury having missed out in the shootout win over Everton in midweek.
Jelavic, Hernandez, Mohamed Diame, Andrew Robertson, Liam Rosenior and Robert Snodgrass are all ruled out of the trip to London while Gaston Ramirez and Sone Aluko are major doubts.
Last five meetings
15 Sep 2014 Hull City 2 – 2 West Ham United Premier League
26 Mar 2014 West Ham United 2 – 1 Hull City Premier League
28 Sep 2013 Hull City 1 – 0 West Ham United Premier League
28 Apr 2012 West Ham United 2 – 1 Hull City Championship
05 Nov 2011 Hull City 0 – 2 West Ham United Championship
- West Ham United have scored the most headed goals in the Premier League this season – 14.
- Sam Allardyce’s side have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight league games.
- West Ham have had 13 different goal scorers this season – the joint highest in Premier League alongside Chelsea.
- West Ham have scored the second highest goals from set pieces this season (10) though they remain one of only four sides yet to score from a penalty.
- West Ham have lost just one of their last 10 home games in all competitions.
- West Ham average the most crosses per game in the Premier League (27).
- Only 2% of Hull City’s shot come from the six-yard box, the lowest in the Premier League while West Ham attempt the second lowest shots from outside the box (35%).
- Hull City average the second lowest shots per game (10.3) in the Premier League.
- Hull City have won just one of their last 10 away matches in the Premier League while failing to score in five of their last seven away games.
Hull City have made the second most interceptions per game in the Premier League with 18.8.
- Hull City have beaten West Ham only once in their last eight meetings in all competitions.
- Hull City have lost in all their last five visits to Upton Park in the league.
- Hull City have lost four of their last six away games in the Premier League
West Ham United: Andy Carroll
The 26-year-old has returned to form and fitness at the right time for Sam Allardyce and will be paired upfront alongside Enner Valencia who had not scored for over two months before netting against Everton on Tuesday. Carroll has scored three of his four league goals at Upton Park this season and will be looking to add to his tally when Hull City are in town. His goal at the Liberty Stadium was a piece of individual brilliance that highlighted that the 6 ft 4 in Geordie is not just about brute force.
The former Liverpool striker competes for an aerial duel an astounding 14.5 times per game and predictably wins them a league highest 9.2 times and is sure to wreck havoc in the Tiger’s defence. His total of 101 is just four behind Peter’s Crouch league highest tally in eight fewer games. While also helping out defensively, he will be one of the key players in the game.
Hull City: Ahmed Elmohamady
Set to feature in his 76th consecutive Premier League game, the versatile Egyptian has been one of the very few consistent performers for Hull in a season riddled with lows. The 27-year-old has played seven games at right back, seven as a wing back and another seven as a wide midfielder. He was the best player in his side’s last two wins against Sunderland and Everton over the festive period, which came after a dismal run of no wins in 10 league games. With 1.8 tackles and 2 interceptions per game on an average, he also makes 2.8 clearances to help out his side defensively.
Going forward, he has created 31 chances for his teammates out which three were assists. A pass accuracy of 77% is decent especially with 71% of those forward passes. Elmohamady will have to once again drag his teammates on Sunday for them to stand any chance against West Ham.
Though West Ham haven’t won a league game in four, in Hull City they have the perfect opponents to end that run and stay in contention for the European places. Hull will be without quite a few players and it is difficult to see how they will return from London with anything at all.