The FourFourTwo Preview: Southampton vs West Ham
A not-very Super Sunday.
Both sides endured frustrating afternoons in their last Premier League outings. West Ham were undone by a late Jermaine Pennant free-kick as Stoke took all three points at Upton Park, while the Saints couldn’t find the net at Carrow Road, going down 1-0 to Norwich.
Southampton will consider themselves the unluckier of the two losing sides as they dominated possession (58%) against the Canaries - but end product was lacking. West Ham, on the other hand, were simply woeful going forward. Justifiably, the Saints have the strong whiff of blood in their nostrils.
- Norwich 1-0 Southampton (Prem)
- Barnsley 1-5 Southampton (LC)
- Southampton 1-1 Sunderland (Prem)
- West Ham 0-1 Stoke (Prem)
- West Ham 2-1 Cheltenham (LC)
- Newcastle 0-0 West Ham (Prem)
West Ham travel without their record signing, as Geordie Andy Carroll has broken down. Again. Anyone who has read Viz will be wondering whether the ponytailed behemoth is actually a Geordie at all. They’re supposed to be nails, right? Seriously though, this is a huge blow to the East Londoners and morale will be knocked by his absence.
Talk on the messageboards has focused on weak ticket sales for this match. West Ham are struggling to sell a 2,000 away allocation and many Saints fans appear to be finding something better to do on a Sunday. Those late summer break getaway deals appear to be doing the trick… for travel agents. A subdued atmosphere looks likely.
Southampton welcome back the nation’s darling, Rickie Lambert – didn’t he do well?! Supported by an able-bodied group of exciting, creative talent led by Adam Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin, the big Scouser will fancy a goal or two against the Hammers.
West Ham's unwelcome Carroll news leaves them with a potentially long lay-off on their hands - and has the potential to rock an already goal-shy team. The signing of Mladen Petric might help a bit, but injuries to both Joe Cole and Stewart Downing make this look like an ominously negative away day for West Ham.
Key battle: Southampton vs themselves
Getting the ball down and playing is Southampton's style. Their performance against Norwich frequently put them in decent attacking positions, but their attacking players (particularly the wide-men) tried to take on too many people only to lose out. They'd do well to move the ball more and leave the trickery in the changing room.
These screens compare Southampton’s take-ons against Norwich (only 6 of 27 were successful, with only 1 of 8 successful for Adam Lallana) with West Ham’s defensive dashboard against Stoke:
The East Londoners’ strength is defence. They'll set up a ring of steel in front of their penalty area (as seen here), so the Saints should focus on moving the ball and trying to force the West Ham back-line out of shape rather than trying to run through the likes of James Collins and Winston Reid.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Southampton 1-1 West Ham (Prem, Apr 13)
- West Ham 4-1 Southampton (Prem, Oct 12)
- West Ham 1-1 Southampton (Championship, Feb 12)
- Southampton 1-0 West Ham (Championship, Oct 11)
- Southampton 1-1 West Ham (Prem, Apr 03)
It's a culture clash on the bench, with Southampton's suave Argentine taking on the Hammers' gruffian from Dudley.
Sam Allardyce will fancy his chances of ruffling feathers both on the pitch and in the technical areas but Mauricio Pochettino should have thick enough skin to handle that kind of grief. As well as managing in La Liga (they poke people in the eye there, for God’s sake!) he was also the man who tripped Michael Owen in Sapporo for David Beckham to smash home the winning penalty against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup. That must have made him real popular back home.
Facts and figures
- Southampton have scored just four goals in their last eight Premier League matches.
- The Hammers have won only one of their last 15 Premier League away games (D4 L10).
- Saints have committed the most fouls in the Premier League so far this season; but only been shown two yellow cards.
- West Ham failed to register a shot on target in their last Premier League match; against Stoke on August 31.
- Sam Allardyce is unbeaten in nine Premier League meetings with Southampton (W3 D6).
- Not since Mauricio Pochettino’s first home game in charge (0-0 v Everton) have Southampton managed a clean sheet at St Mary’s in the Premier League (eight games).
- West Ham have attempted fewer passes (938) than any other side in the Premier League this season and have the worst passing accuracy (72.3%).
- Mark Noble has scored three goals in the last three league meetings between West Ham and Southampton; more than any against other league opposition.
- Southampton are unbeaten in their last four home matches against West Ham (W2 D2).
- No English player has scored more goals in the Premier League since the beginning of last season than Rickie Lambert (16).
Southampton to notch their second win of the campaign - 2-0.
Southampton vs West Ham LIVE ANALYSIS using online Stats Zone