Southampton prepare to face Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham, a tide of new found optimism is sweeping through the whole stadium.
On the back of consecutive league wins for the first time since April 2017 during Claude Puel’s ill fated reign, Southampton are finally begin to play with a verve and intensity which has been sorely missing for several years.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has made an instant impact since his arrival on the South coast and whilst the Austrian might not like the accompanying comparison to the current Liverpool manager, one can only assume that the new boss must be pleased with the progress made in just three weeks
Southampton Team News
The Saints will have to be without midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season late on in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Huddersfield and must serve a one-match suspension.
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is unlikely to make many other changes after seeing his side win two matches in a row.
Teenage striker Michael Obafemi will hope for more game time after becoming Southampton’s youngest ever Premier League scorer on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cedric Soares remains an injury doubt with a calf strain, while Ryan Bertrand is unlikely to return following a back injury.
Although West Ham failed to win a league game until mid September, they have since amassed an impressive seven league wins and their Chilean manager, Manuel Pellegrini has done well to incorporate so many new players into his team.
One of the most impressive aspects of West Ham’s performances has been the spread of goals from across the team with Anderson, Arnautovic, Hernandez, Snodgrass and Antonio all offering a threat.
Southampton’s defence have improved since they reverted to three centre backs, but there remains an obvious lack of pace coupled with occasional lapses of concentration, which Chicharito, Anderson etc will be seeking to exploit.
West Ham Team News
Fabian Balbuena and Javier Hernandez have joined West Ham’s injury list ahead of the trip to face Saints.
Defender Balbuena suffered a knee injury against Watford on Saturday and striker Hernandez came off with back and hamstring problems.
As well as Arnautovic’s fitness, Lucas Perez (foot) will be assessed after he picked up a foot inury that has kept him out since the win over Cardiff.
Jack Wilshere, Ryan Fredericks (both ankle), Andriy Yarmolenko (Achilles), Carlos Sanchez (knee), Winston Reid (knee) and Manuel Lanzini (ACL) remain long-term absentees.
Head To Head
In clashes between both sides, Southampton have won 50, while West Ham have won 75, with both teams drawing 46 of the encounters.