West Ham United have the opportunity to continue their upward trajectory when they visit a tired Southampton side who played a staggering nine matches across all competitions in January.
The Hammers’ New Year didn’t get off to a great start with the 5-0 hammering they received in the FA Cup at the hands of Manchester City and then the controversy surrounding Dimitri Payet.
But since the news came out that the playmaker didn’t want to be at the club any longer, Slaven Bilic’s team have enjoyed some fine form and look like a much more cohesive unit.
In each of the two matches following that announcement, the Irons scored three goals and only conceded once. Instead of facing a relegation battle, the London club could yet make a last gasp assault on a Europa League spot if they can write off the 4-0 home loss against Manchester City on Wednesday as just a bad day - a very bad day - at the office.
Southampton are yet to win consecutive league games this season. They can be pleased with the success of beating Liverpool to reach the EFL Cup final, but the 5-0 capitulation to Arsenal in the FA Cup tarnished that result.
The Saints have struggled for consistency under Claude Puel, making it difficult to predict which Saints side will show up.
The south coast side thrashed West Ham 3-0 in the last meeting, but the London club have turned a few corners since then and Bilic will be eyeing another three points here.
Bilic has made some shrewd additions in the transfer window, including former Southampton player Jose Fonte.
The centre-back will add serious strength to an Irons defence that has been breached 36 times this season.
Robert Snodgrass has also come in as a direct replacement for Payet, and the former Hull City playmaker should thrive when surrounded by top quality players.
Andy Carroll is in exceptional form, having scored three in two games. Snodgrass will be looking to put balls on a plate for the big target man, who is worth backing for Anytime Goal Scorer at 3/1.
The bookies are favouring a Southampton win, possibly due to West Ham’s turbulent form over the season.
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