West Ham vs Huddersfield
Venue: London Stadium
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Huddersfield Town travel to the London Stadium this Saturday and the Terriers will be taking on West Ham United as they look to give themselves hope of staying in the Premier League. Currently sat bottom of the league on 14 points, Huddersfield need a big turn of form if they are to stand any chance of staying up.
Jan Siewert will be concerned with his team’s current form after losing seven of their last eight matches – with their only points coming in a 1-0 win over Wolves. The Terriers last game was against Bournemouth and they were comfortably dispatched 2-0 by the Cherries. As bad as Huddersfield’s general form has been, their away form has certainly been their downfall having not won on the road since November, only picking up six points all campaign away from home.
West Ham however have hit a crossroads in their season. They passed up yet another opportunity to close the gap to Watford and Wolves last time out and lost ground in the race for seventh and potential Europa League football when they lost 2-0 to Cardiff City. Similar to the Terriers, the Hammers away form has been their Achilles heel this season as Manuel Pellegrini’s team have only picked up one point from their last six away games. This disappointment will make Pellegrini even more determined to get the victory and keep their hopes of a seventh-place finish alive.
Despite their poor away form, West Ham are unbeaten in their last five home games, winning three of them. The London Stadium is starting to feel like home for the fans and the team after a turbulent few years. The stadium this season has turned into a fortress with victories against Manchester United and Arsenal showing that the stadium can indeed be fierce.
Manuel Pellegrini will be expected to ring the changes this weekend following a poor performance against Cardiff City. The Hammers have Paraguayan defender Fabian Balbuena back in full training and he could come in for Angelo Ogbonna. The Italian defender had looked good in recent weeks, but West Ham are undoubtedly most solid with Balbuena and Issa Diop as their centre-back pairing.
Javier Hernandez could be another facing the axe; the Mexican showed little quality against Cardiff and struggled to hold up the ball. Arguably, West Ham need a big target man up front to be truly effective and luckily the Hammers have that man in Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian has been out in the cold recently after his transfer debacle, but now is the time for him to come back to the starting XI and Arnautovic is the striker West Ham need. He is able to chase down the ball, hold up the play and get in behind defenders and his ability has been missing as of late. Also, with players like Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson, he should receive plenty of service to be successful for the club again.
Unfortunately for Pellegrini, he still does have some injuries woes within in the West Ham squad. Carlos Sanchez, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere and Winston Reid will miss the game with long-term injuries. Andy Carroll is rumoured to have picked up a new injury last week too, this injury could spell the end of his time at West Ham again as his contract runs out in the summer. The West Ham hierarchy are unlikely to renew Carroll’s £80,000 per-week contract but time will tell.
Jan Siewert has had a troubled time as manager of Huddersfield due to an extensive injury list since his appointment. The Terriers currently are without Adama Diakhaby, Isaac Mbenza and Danny Williams, who are all recovering from long-term injuries.
To make matters worse for Siewert, Jonathan Hogg is unlikely to make the match against West Ham. Hogg has been struggling to recover from a rib injury and missed last week’s game against Bournemouth. Terence Kongolo might soften the injury crisis though as he could return to the match-day squad after nearly recovering from a small muscle problem.
One player that will be back for the Terriers is striker Laurent Depoitre, the Belgian missed last week’s match with a foot injury but he has recovered well and could return to the team to help Huddersfield’s survival push.
Predicted Starting XIs
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Diop, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble; Anderson, Lanzini, Antonio; Arnautovic
Huddersfield Town (4-1-2-1-2): Lossl; Durm, Schindler, Jorgensen, Bacuna; Stankovic; Billing, Mooy; Pritchard; Kachunga, Mounie
Score Prediction: West Ham United 3 Huddersfield Town 1
West Ham have to be favourites against a poor Huddersfield team, even after their disappointing display against Cardiff City. West Ham have been a lot stronger at the London Stadium this season and it showed in their recent form, they comfortably beat Newcastle and Fulham at home recently and should add Huddersfield’s scalp and help their push for seventh.
Huddersfield will have some hope of picking up a result against the Hammers. The Terrier’s picked up a point in a 1-1 draw against the Londoners earlier in the season at the John Smith’s Stadium and if Siewert’s side plays with the same tenacity as they did that day then they could get a positive result.