West Ham host Hull City on Sunday in a must-win match as they face a nightmarish run of fixtures following the clash at the Boleyn Ground.
The Hammers go in to the game in good spirits following their thrilling midweek penalty shootout victory over Everton in the FA Cup. However, excluding that result they are without a win in the previous five matches.
Sam Allardyce will be desperate to get his side the three points against an injury-struck Hull team, especially in the knowledge that they face Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham in their next four Premier League matches.
West Ham will still be without Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate but Winston Reid could make a return from the ankle injury that kept him out in midweek.
Allardyce is expected to field more or less the same side that faced Everton, but the disappointing Matt Jarvis could and probably should be dropped to the bench in place of Morgan Amalfitano.
Against a weak Tigers outfit the Hammers should have no fear and really commit players forward, with Mark Noble holding Alex Song can be given more of a license to get forward and join attacks.
Hull are without almost all of their striking options as both Abel Hernandez and Nikica Jelavic suffered injuries in the defeat at West Brom last time out, so penalty hero Adrian should be in for a quiet afternoon.
Early goal crucial
Steve Bruce’s side are slumped in 18th position, one point clear of safety and without any of their first-choice forwards they are looking in real trouble.
Furthermore, West Ham have won their last five home matches against them and they’ve only lost one of their last nine at Upton Park.
The omens don’t look good for Hull – only Aston Villa (56) have fired fewer shots on target than them (61) this season – and they have conceded eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches, more than any other team.
West Ham will be looking to strike early knowing that their opponents are slow starters and if they take the lead they should be in for a relatively comfortable day’s work.
West Ham United: Predicted XI
Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Reid, Cresswell; Noble, Song, Amalfitano, Downing, Valencia; Carroll.
West Ham 2-0 Hull City
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