West Ham travel north for Saturday’s Premier League clash with sixth-placed Burnley, in what has been dubbed Battle of the Kiwis. Two New Zealand internationals - Chris Wood and Winston Reid - will meet at Turf Moor in yet another must-win-game for the Hammers and Slaven Bilic.
Despite Burnley’s bright start, this is a very winnable game for the Irons, we beat The Clarets twice last season; including a 2-1 win at Turf Moor in the final game.
West Ham will come into the fixture with a mostly healthy squad, Bilic told Thursday’s press conference that only James Collins will be unavailable for Saturday’s game. Javier Hernandez might start the game on the bench after arriving late from the Mexico squad.
“We are still waiting, Chicharito is coming back today, he wasn’t with us for a couple for Mexico for a couple of weeks, he’s coming back tomorrow [Friday] for training,” Bilic said. “We’re going to see. But the good thing he played the first game, he scored (vs Trinidad & Tobago), which is always important for the strikers. So he’s going to train tomorrow, but I’m expecting him to be in the squad.”
Andy Carroll will lead the line, supported by some proper attacking midfielders, I feel confident about the big Geordie getting his first goal of the season.
We’ve asked the Brace the Hammer writers for their thoughts on the game and what we can expect:
The Kiwi Hammer
I'm going to say it'll be a rough game, but I think we can pinch a 3-1 WHU win, especially if the rumours of Lanzini, Sakho, Chicharito, Antonio and Arnautovic all starting are true!
West Ham are the better team, but Burnley have had a fantastic start to the season. I expect a draw.
West Ham 2-2 Burnley
I see progression from the side but we lose this one 3-1 (with a Burnley getting a garbage goal at the end). The question is if Slav changes it up to go for it or falls back on what he thinks is safe.
Burnley 1-3 West Ham
A fully healthy squad, a real good international break for almost all of our players equal a tide turning. Burnley will always be tough, but this will be the Hammers best display this season in my mind.
1-0 Win for the Hammers
It's going to be another game like Swans were we don't look good but somehow get a win. Slaven lives for another game
Could be a tough one this week and the Hammers could potentially feel the effects of the recent internationals which could make things difficult in terms of the physical side. I would love to go for a win but will happily settle for - and predict - a draw on this occasion. However, with a nearly full squad, here's hoping...............!!
Playing Burnley means I should feel confident in saying that the Hammers can pull off a win. I was sadly optimistic last time around, but hopefully after a good international break for many of our players we'll see some of that form and winning attitude make its way into the claret and blue kits.
The squad may have gotten the win against Swansea, but they still played like garbage the entire match against a relegation side. Either way, I'm going to keep predicting wins until West Ham get a convincing one.
So I'm thinking the boys play their boots off and get a 3-0 win against an awful side, even though I know deep down it'll be a somehow-closely-contested match and the Hammers will either eke out a 2-1 win with a late Diafra Sakho substitution goal, or lose 1-2 after conceding a goal in the 89th minute.
Battle of the Blahs. I think we'll see both teams show some rust out of the international break. I don't know what else to say but these teams inspire little confidence that either will be victorious
Burnley 1-1 West Ham
Looking at our run of games in the near future it looks like we need points from the next three, starting against a side we've got an excellent recent record against. A good fixture for me personally, as I fondly remember Carlton Cole scoring the most Carlton Cole goal ever against them in the cup a few years back.
However, unlike the other sides we expected to see down the bottom, Burnley look like they're always good for a goal, even if we've shored up a bit lately. Also unlike us they seem to have a clear plan and way of playing the team seems to buy into. If they get one, will we get two? A bit wishful (perhaps...) We could definitely win. But I'm going with a draw.
Jack Kavanagh (Me!)
After a tough win against Swansea I reckon the Hammers will continue with another positive result. Despite how bad things have looked this season, Bilic always seemed to enjoy support from the players, I think this will continue at Burnley.
I can see Andy Carroll doing big things and making life difficult for the opposing centre backs. I have a good feeling about this one.
2-1 West Ham