Brighton will be hoping to pick up their second Premier League win of the season on their return to the Amex, however they will be hard pushed to do so against an in-form West Ham this evening, writes Bradley Stratton.
Chris Hughton’s side were passengers for almost all of last weekend’s game at Manchester City, having only 20 percent of possession at the Etihad Stadium. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero sealed a comfortable 2-0 win for the Premier League champions, who were hardly troubled by Albion.
Defeat was always the outcome many Seagulls fans expected going into the clash. They will be at least be happy at having avoided major damage to their goal difference against a City side that had scored 19 times in their six top-flight games prior to the game.
With no win in their last five Premier League outings, Albion will be hoping to regain some momentum back on home soil in their final game before the October international break. They will be banking on the Friday night atmosphere under the Amex lights giving them an extra advantage against their East London opponents.
Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure as Hammers boss got off to a dismal start, with his side suffering four consecutive defeats. However a 3-1 win at Everton kick-started their season, with West Ham having gone on to hold Chelsea to a scoreless draw and beat Manchester United 3-1 at the London Stadium. Those results have put them two points and a place above Brighton going into tonight’s clash.
Much of how their campaign goes will depend on the form of striker Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian scored 11 times last season after joining for £20million last summer from Stoke. He has already hit the back of the net four times in their opening seven Premier League games.
The last meeting between the sides was during Albion’s superb five game unbeaten run earlier this year back in February, which played a major part in ensuring their top-flight survival.
The Seagulls completed the double over West Ham at the Amex with a 3-1 win, with the highlight being Jose Izquierdo’s stunning long-range strike for goal number two. It was named goal of the Season at the club’s end of season awards event.
Albion are likely to make just one change from the side that lost to Manchester City last weekend, writes James Wootton.
Glenn Murray looks set to regain his starting place from Jurgen Locadia, and will hope to add to his four goal tally so far this season.
Pascal Gross is still ruled out but Chris Hughton will make a decision on whether Dale Stephens returns to the side after injury.
Jose Izquierdo returned to action last weekend but is again likely to be on the bench.
Summer signing Florin Andone will also hope to make the matchday squad for just the second time this season.
Likely line-up: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Kayal, Propper, Bissouma, March; Murray. Subs (from): Button, Bruno, Balogun, Bernardo, Suttner, Stephens, Jahanbakhsh, Izquierdo, Andone, Locadia.
It is likely West Ham will remain unchanged from the side that beat Manchester United 3-1 on Saturday.
Marko Arnautovic has admitted he is playing through the pain barrier but his performances haven't let up, scoring in the victories over United and Everton in recent weeks.
The Hammers will be without Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini, all of whom are recovering from long term injuries. Carlos Sanchez has also been ruled out.
Javier Hernandez is back in training but Pellegrini says the striker still needs a few more days to be in his best shape.
Likely line-up: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Noble, Obiang; Anderson, Yarmolenko; Arnautovic. Subs (from): Adrian, Ogbonna, Fredericks, Cresswell, Diangana, Snodgrass, Perez, Antonio, Hernandez.
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