Matchday: West Ham @ The Liberty Stadium

Will there be a welcome in the hillsides for Slav’s men to demonstrate their alleged new found confidence.

Swansea West HamIf the boot were on the other foot and we were facing a team whose record signing was our former player who had struggled since his big money transfer you would be straight down to the bookies with the nailed on certainty that he would break his goal-scoring duck today. When Andre Ayew chose to sign for Swansea despite the apparent advances of West Ham in the summer of 2015 the noisy naysayers saw this as evidence of a lack of ambition by the Hammer’s board. Following his successful season at the Liberty Stadium and subsequent £20 million transfer to West Ham the same critics dismiss him as a flop and claim that we massively overpaid. With the Hammers looking for an unlikely three wins on the trot (and the sixth 1-0 success of the season) what scriptwriter could refuse the Ghanaian a winning goal return as a late Christmas present this afternoon?

Head to Head

West Ham against Swansea is a fixture that has largely gone with home advantage over the years. We have yet to win at the Liberty Stadium and you have to go back to 1985 for a last win on the Gower peninsular.

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Sequence

Home

26

18

7

1

66

26

LWWWDW

Away

26

4

7

15

32

47

DDDLLW

 

52

22

14

16

98

73

 

Team News

Player of the season-to-date Pedro Obiang misses today’s game through suspension. Apparently James Collins and Sam Byram are both available. We are likely to see the same team that struggled against Hull apart from the enforced change caused by Obiang’s absence. Worryingly it could well be the less than impressive Havard Nordtveit who fills the defensive midfield void.

“We got seven points, we climbed the table, now I expect from us to play with more confidence than before.  We are approaching the next couple of games till the end of the year with much more confidence and I expect us to play well and get something out of those games.”

– Slaven Bilic

Andy Carroll will continue up front and with Sakho now ruled out until March (I am undecided whether this is a convenient ACON injury or not) the need for striker reinforcements is as acute as ever.

“We have started games well, but we still concede first. I have looked back over the year and one of the things that sticks out is that in 17 games we have only scored first four times.”

– Bob Bradley

Swansea have no injury worries and it could be an uncomfortable afternoon if they really give it a go against our unconvincing formation. Let’s hope we can hold on long enough for Ayew to come on and nick the winner.

The Man in the Middle

A third encounter of the season (Man City [A]; Stoke [H]) with Andre Marriner from the West Midlands. Mr. Marriner has taken charge of 16 games in all competitions this term amassing 68 Yellow and 5 Red cards.