West Ham travel to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday with Manuel Pellegrini’s job very much on the line.
The Hammers have won just once in 11 games and now find themselves locking horns in a basement battle with strugglers Southampton at St Mary’s.
Anything other than a win could cost Pellegrini his job, but things aren’t exactly rosy in the opposite dugout, with the Saints currently in the relegation zone and the pressure beginning to build on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s shoulders.
So, can Pellegrini find a win from somewhere and save his job this weekend? Or will Hasenhuttl be the man to deliver the final blow and leave West Ham managerless and potentially in the bottom three come Monday?
Read on for Southampton vs West Ham preview, predictions, team news, TV coverage information and more.
When is Southampton vs West Ham and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium
Date: Saturday, 14 December 2019
Kick-off: 5:30 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League
Last five meetings: Southampton vs West Ham
04 May 2019: West Ham 3-0 Southampton (Premier League)
27 Dec 2018: Southampton 1-2 West Ham (Premier League)
31 Mar 2018: West Ham 3-0 Southampton (Premier League)
19 Aug 2017: Southampton 3-2 West Ham (Premier League)
04 Feb 2017: Southampton 1-3 West Ham (Premier League)
Aggregate Score: Southampton (LLLWL) 15-5 West Ham (WWWLW)
Ones to watch
Southampton: Danny Ings
Danny Ings has been in imposing form this season, scoring nine goals in the Premier League, which amounts to 50 per cent of the Saints’ total output. Such has been his proficiency in front of goal that he has outscored Raheem Sterling and Mohamed Salah, while he also sits level with Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Sadio Mane. Against a defence as fragile as West Ham’s, Ings could really have a field day and close in on Jamie Vardy in the Golden Boot race.
Key stat: Danny Ings has scored more Premier League goals than any other Southampton player this season (9).
West Ham: Michail Antonio
Michail Antonio has proven the key to West Ham if they are to get their season back up on track and avoid any form of a relegation dogfight. The 29-year-old’s tigerish energy and explosive pace offers a unique element to Pellegrini’s frontline that just seems to elevate those around him. Southampton have the worst defence in the league so Antonio should be able to exploit the space and cause havoc in the final third.
Key stat: Michail Antonio has registered more shots per 90 minutes than any other West Ham player this season (3.5).
Sofiane Boufal injured his toe whilst at home last month and has struggled to fully recover from that particular injury, but he should be fit to make the matchday squad this weekend having played 17 minutes against Newcastle last week.
Elsewhere Stuart Armstrong is expected to return to the Southampton squad having overcome a hamstring problem, but Yan Valery remains out with a viral infection.
Predicted XI: McCarthy; Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond; Long, Ings.
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The Hammers remain without influential pairing Lukasz Fabianski and Manuel Lanzini, who are both not expected back until the New Year.
Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere and Winston Reid recently recovered from their ongoing injuries but both suffered setbacks and will not be fit enough to travel to the South Coast.
Finally, Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell face late fitness tests, with the latter having come off in the second half defeat to Arsenal with a thigh agitation.
Predicted XI: Martin; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Noble, Rice, Anderson, Fornals, Antonio; Haller.
Southampton and West Ham are both extremely fragile at the back so there should be goals here, it will just be a case of who scores more. Well, with both managers under pressure and the two clubs fighting for their lives, desperate to drag themselves out of trouble before it’s too late, we may see a more cautious approach, meaning the likely outcome is a nervy stalemate – which doesn’t really do much for either side.
Scoreline prediction: Southampton 2-2 West Ham