For once, Saints fans can go into tomorrow’s clash with a great deal of optimism. Stringing back to back wins together for the first time since April 2017, Ralph Hasenhuttl has been a breath of fresh air since arriving on the south coast.

After their win at Huddersfield last Saturday, there looks to be a change of fortunes at Southampton. With the away end singing the well known Wham song “Last Christmas” about Hasenhuttl, there is no doubt that the Austrian has instantly grabbed the approval of the supporters. The 3-1 victory demonstrated that there seems to be a mental toughness instilled under the new regime as well as the team’s ability to create and more importantly take, chances in the attacking third.

Beaten at home to Watford 2-0, it left West Ham sitting 12th in the table heading into the festive season. Yet, just two points off 8th, tomorrow’s clash appears getting back to winning ways is vital. Since making a disastrous start to the campaign, where they lost their first four matches, Manuel Pellegrini’s men has made something of a resurgence.

Injury News

For the home side, just the one absentee with captain Ryan Bertrand is sidelined until the new year with a back issue.
For West Ham, the list of absentees looks to be growing longer with every passing game. With no return date scheduled for Jack Wilshere or Ryan Fredericks, it is extremely unlikely the pair will feature any time soon for the Hammers. There are also long spells on the sidelines for Andriy Yarmolenko, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez and Manuel Lanzini, with the latter three suffering knee injuries. However, there was much more welcomed news this week for the club as danger duo Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic are set to play a part in the match at St Mary’s after picking up knocks in recent weeks.

Key Threats

Felipe Anderson:  Arriving in the summer with a hefty price-tag on his back, the former Lazio man looks to be finding his feet in the Premier League. With the Brazilian the Iron’s top scorer with six, the winger certainly adds goals from out wide. If not managed, his influence on the game could be significant.

Michail Antonio: Although plagued with injury problems in recent years, Antonio always seems to relish playing at his old stomping ground. With an abundance of athleticism and energy, Antonio can be a danger due to his incisive runs from out to in, along with having good aerial ability from crosses.

Robert Snodgrass: After spending much of last season out of favour and left out in the cold, including being offloaded on loan to Aston Villa, the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini has enabled Snodgrass to finally find a place in the squad. Working his way into the starting lineup, Robert Snodgrass has helped fill the void left by Manuel Lanzini, who has spent much of the campaign injured. Offering a great delivery from crosses and set pieces, Southampton must ensure they defend their box well against the Scot.

Last five results for Southampton:

Southampton 2 – 2 Manchester United

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Southampton

Cardiff City 1 – 0 Southampton

Southampton 3 – 2 Arsenal

Huddersfield Town 1 – 3 Southampton

Last five results for West Ham United:

Newcastle United 0 – 3 West Ham

West Ham 3 – 1 Cardiff City

West Ham 3 – 2 Crystal Palace

Fulham 0 – 2 West Ham

West Ham 0 – 2 Watford

With six goals scored in their last two games, I can see Southampton posing problems to a West Ham defence, who have only kept three clean sheets all season. If the home side can stay switched on at the back and deal with the supposed aerial threat of the Hammers, I see Southampton continuing their great run of recent form.
Prediction: Southampton 2 – 0 West Ham.

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