WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) returns to the Premier League fray for the solitary Sunday game. West Ham fans are getting pretty worried; can their team get back to winning ways against a Southampton side that’s building a head of steam?
West Ham v Southampton | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
Where do we start with West Ham?
Defensively they’ve been an absolute shambles this season. The sale of James Tomkins is looking more and more foolish with every passing game.
New signing Arthur Masuaka has already compiled a catalogue of defensive howlers and with Aaron Cresswell out injured there are problems at both full-back positions.
Mark Noble hasn’t had a good game yet. His play controlled the tempo for West Ham last season and allowed the attackers to play with a freedom that they have not had this season.
There have still been moments of brilliance – Dmitri Payet’s rabona assist and Michail Antonio’s five headed goals, but there seems an imbalance around the squad that Slaven Bilic is struggling to address.
Southampton have had a tough start to life under Claude Puel.
On the one hand they’ve managed to beat Sparta Prague in the Europa League which trumps the performances against FC Midtjylland last season no end but on the other they’ve looked a bit shoddy in the Premier League.
The return from injury of Charlie Austin seems to have instantly sparked life into their campaign though.
Saints have now won three in a row without conceding in all competitions. All of those wins came at St. Mary’s and Austin scored in all three, with a total of four goals. He’s 19/10 (Betfair) to notch in East London.
The Hampshire club went a little under the radar at times last season. I still think if you ask many people they think that West Ham finished above them, such has been the hype about the Irons, but it was actually the reverse.
There’s been a lot of focus on West Ham with the stadium move and the outstanding talent of Payet but Saints finished a brilliant sixth last season, above Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton; something they would never have dreamed of when they were languishing in League One in 2011.
The Hammers won this match 2-1 at the Boleyn last December but they seem to be feeling the pressure at London Stadium at the minute. It’s going to take a while for any club to get used to new surroundings.
Both of these clubs have only one win from five in the league this season but Saints have faced both Man United and Arsenal and still only conceded six goals in five games.
West Ham on the other hand have leaked 13 in five including 10 in their last three and also been knocked out of Europe by Astra Giurgiu at home.
Michail Antonio to score a header would be a worth a small bet if the value wasn’t pretty dire – 3/1 with Skybet to do so doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing. Five already this season is splendid but the likes of Virgil van Dijk should control him in the air and they will certainly be aware of the threat he poses.
The Hammers camp can’t be the happiest right now. I think the safest play is to have a wager on Southampton on the +0 Asian Handicap at 9/11 with 188Bet it works exactly the same way as a punt on the Draw No Bet market.
Saints have a pretty standard away record – last season it read W7-D6-L6 which shows how tough they are to beat but the fair possibility of a draw here means the +0 gives us some insurance.
Saints seem to be able to lose great managers and players and absorb the damage like clockwork. Ronald Koeman was fantastic for them, as was Mauricio Pochettino and there’s no reason to believe that Puel can’t have the same success.
The French manager did wonderfully well with Nice over the last four years and it looks like he’s now had time to bed in his tactics. I expect the good results to continue so I’m siding with the visitors here.