It’s that time again, you know the deal. The Brace the Hammer writers make their predictions for Saturday’s crucial match with Swansea, then West Ham go on to lose it. It’s happened in every prediction article we have done, but this week will be different.
Slaven Bilic is under a huge amount of pressure and it is rumoured that he might lose his job if the team don’t beat Swansea. West Ham have lost their last five games, the Premier League table makes for grim reading:
Just look at that thing, it’s a mess. It wasn’t that long ago that I was thinking it would be disappointing that West Ham might not finish ninth. Now there are legitimate concerns that the team are in a relegation battle.
Worst of all, there is a significant risk that Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace might finish above West Ham. It’s all looking very negative for the Hammers at the moment.
We should take solace from the fact that the last time we played Swansea, we smashed them 4-1 at Liberty Stadium. However, the time before that we lost 1-4 to the Swans at Upton Park in May 2016, so who knows?
A win on Saturday will ease any lingering fears about relegation and set the team up nicely for their next match with Sunderland. Let’s hope West Ham can start picking up the points and move upwards the table. Four points are the minimum I want from these next two games.
Let’s check in on the Brace the Hammer Prediction League, which for me is similarly bleak as I have yet to make a single right prediction. Which is bad for my credibility. It raises further questions about my suitability for writing the weekly prediction column, when I haven’t made a single correct guess.
Resident psychic Brian Tenerowicz still leads the pack, but after the entirely predictable loss to Arsenal, many others started picking up points.
As always the scoring is:
1 point – correctly predicting the game’s outcome
3 points – correctly predicting the score and outcome
Let’s get into the picks:
This is the last time I'm picking the Hammers to win until I go full-on panic mode. Swansea are bad. Should be able to nab a result. I’m also afraid Bilic will be sacked if they don't get a win, so 2-1 to the Claret & Blue.
On the bright side we're only four points out of ninth place!
90 minutes of nerves and hell
2-1 West Ham
West Ham 2-1 Swansea
It'll be nervy and by no means pretty, but three points here can save Bilic's job ... at least until the Sunderland game. The wheels fell off in the second half against Arsenal. But, in the first half, the defense stuck together nicely. If the Hammers can jump in front first and add to it, they should stick out any late push.
2-1 to the Irons.
I'm hopefully optimistic.
Andrew Jones & Charlie Walsh
West Ham 5-4 Swansea
1-0 West Ham
West Ham 3-1 Swansea
Swansea have looked improved in recent weeks, and West Ham have badly struggled. This is a key game for both teams as they look to earn a mid-table finish. It should be evenly matched, but I feel that West Ham's superior firepower will win the match for them.
West Ham 3, Swansea 1.
Everyone needs to get their heads out of the toilet and wipe their chin. We're playing Swansea at home. A team we've only lost once to in the last 8 matches, with 4 wins and 3 draws.
Even better? Andy Carroll has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last six matches against Swansea. Look, relegation is scary, I get it. But Sunderland and Middlesbrough are the lock to go down.
If West Ham United can't be a better team than Hull, Swansea, and Crystal Palace down the stretch - then we don't deserve top flight football.
Here's the rub, pal. We're still 3 points from being back in middle table. This might be the game of the season for West Ham, but it's one they absolutely should and will win.
Pete Schlenker (HammerPete)
3-1 West Ham.
With their backs against the wall, the team will come out flying against a poor Swansea team. Look for the team to set Carroll free against the Swansea centre backs, and Lanzini and Ayre run riot. Hopefully, the defense will hold it together, but Swansea's offense isn't as potent as Arsenal.
The players have to know that this game means the future for Bilic and most of their contracts, so if they want to continue to play Premier League football and the pay packets that come with it, they need to show up and beat the pants off of a Swansea team that they beat 4-1 in Wales earlier in the season.
West Ham 3-1 Swansea
The Hammers can’t keep a clean sheet to save their lives, so I expect Swansea to score. Goals haven’t been an issue for West Ham this season and I expect us to hit the net a couple of times in this one.
The team badly need a win. I feel playing Swansea and Sunderland in succession will give the team the boost they will need. Like when we beat Burnley and Hull City at the end of 2016 to kick start the season.
What do you think?