It seems ages since we were soundly beaten, at home, by Arsenal, but we have the ideal chance to get back to winning ways this Saturday when we welcome struggling Southampton to Upton Park.
The Saints, like ourselves, climbed out of the Championship last season but Nigel Adkins side have struggled to acclimatize to life in the top-flight, although it should be pointed out they have had numerous difficult matches to kick-start their campaign with.
But there`s little room for sentiment in football and Big Sam will be looking towards his troops to show no mercy and put Southampton to the sword. Three points harvested now is three points less needed for survival come May, if indeed it comes to such a thing.
Will West Ham emerge victorious? That remains to be seen!
As we prepare to welcome Southampton to Upton Park, Big Sam has had a few things to say about those players of ours that have been on international duty.
First up are the duo of Mohamed Diame and Guy Demel, both of whom were caught up in that awful riot that occurred during the Senegal v Ivory Coast African Cup of Nations qualifier, with Big Sam remarking to the media,
“We had two very important players away in that horrific situation, but they`ve come back okay.”
A sense of relief in Sam`s voice there, but continuing, he seems totally bemused and baffled by New Zealand`s insistence that the injured Winston Reid was forced to fly to the other side of the world to prove he was injured, remarking,
“I don`t see any sense in calling them over – particularly that far – because they are injured. I don`t see any sense in it at all.”
“I also think there was an underlying factor that they didn`t trust him or us that he was really injured.”
“I think the players are brought there and then put under enormous pressure to play, because of the loyalties to the country by the coaches and certain political elements which they have to resist.”
“I`m all for international football but it doesn`t make any sense to take them because they can`t play.”
You tell them Sam!
West Ham United Team News:
Sam Allardyce will be grateful that Roy Hodgson didn`t over-expose Andy Carroll on the international scene, restricting him to a mere 17 minutes, as he continues his comeback from injury.
Unfortunately, Big Sam will be without the presence of Ricardo Vaz Te with the forward out until the New Year after undergoing an operation on the shoulder he dislocated against Arsenal.
Also missing will be Jack Collison who continues his fight to overcome a persistent knee injury.
Winston Reid, fresh from his around the world in 24 hours flight which the New Zealand FA insisted he took to prove he really was injured, remains doubtful with a bad back.
Also, since we last played, Stephen Henderson, our #2 keeper, has gone on loan to Ipswich, we wish him well.
Player to watch: Andy Carroll
We`re hoping the pony-tailed, on loan, striker, can replicate the form he showed on his debut, if he can that`ll rile a poor Southampton defence that has conceded numerous times so far this season.
Southampton Team News:
Nigel Adkins brings his squad to Upton Park with several key players missing. Danny Butterfield, Jack Cork, Tadarni Lee and Frazer Richardson are all out. The Saints are also without Gaston Ramirez who has been suffering with a dead-leg problem sustained on international duty.
Player to watch: Ricky Lambert
Some players are just destined to score whatever division they play in and Lambert is one such player. He`ll need to be watched carefully if he`s not to add to his tally this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Southampton took four points out of the six available against us last season, in the Championship and can also boast that on the last occasion they visited us in the Premier League they won.
But it`s not all negative news as that win was only their second in the last ten visits.
Overall, West Ham lead when it comes to victories between the two sides with 36 compared to the 32 of our visitors this Saturday.
In charge of our affairs will be N. Swarbrick, refereeing the match, J. Collins and L. Betts assisting and with J. Moss acting as the fourth official.
Last season Southampton looked better than us. Their march to successive promotion campaigns saw them get a right old momentum going. But their form has stalled and they`ve been playing some good football but not getting the results. Our clash with them has all the prospects of being a thrilling encounter but I reckon we`ll just about edge it and add three more points to our total, 2-1 to West Ham!
Our next Premier League fixture sees us take the long and winding road to the DW Stadium to play Wigan; it should be quite an occasion for Mohamed Diame.