An instant response from their latest thrashing against Manchester City is required for West Ham Saturday afternoon, when they travel to Southampton in a mid-table Premier League clash.
Slaven Bilic needs his side to once again show character after a heavy defeat, and just like against Wednesday, the Hammers could enter the top half of the standings with a win at St. Mary’s Park. It will be a quick return for centerback Jose Fonte, as the Euro 2016 winner of course left Southampton a few weeks ago for his new side.
Also of key significance for West Ham is the return of Senegal captain Cheikhou Kouyate from African Cup of Nations duty into the side. His reintroduction sees Bilic having a replacement for Sam Byram after the right back picked up a hamstring injury to complete a miserable week for him.
The same can’t be said for Claude Puel, who sees Dutch centerback ace Virgil van Dijk out until season’s end with a bad ankle injury. However, both Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse have passed late fitness tests and are in the first XI. Italian international striker Manolo Gabbiadini gets a debut start for his new club.
We’ll see if West Ham can bounce back and secure another key road victory. Or if the Saints will be the ones marching to all three points.
First Half Review
Obiang with A BANG!!!!!! 2-1 Hammers, his first goal for the Hammers! #SOUWHU— Brace The Hammer (@BraceTheHammer) February 4, 2017
An exciting first half and a terrific comeback for the Hammers after failing behind the early goal from Gabbiadini.
An injury concern for Kouyate and his makeshift play at right back are worry signs for Bilic going into the half. But without a doubt, his side are a threat going forward. Southampton clearly do miss Van Dijk, but there is a good level of energy and vigor about West Ham’s attack. And that was before Obiang’s terrific smack to give them the lead at the break.
The full match recap to come soon.