Brighton travel to West Ham this Saturday in a potentially decisive clash in the battle for Premier League survival.
West Ham come in to the game in dire form, most recently losing 2-0 to world champions Liverpool on Wednesday evening. While there is no shame in being beaten by the best, the Irons have been victorious in just one of their last seven league matches, and have won just two games since the re-appointment of David Moyes.
As a result, the Hammers sit perilously close to the drop zone, scrambling above it on goal difference alone.
While things have been somewhat more positive for Brighton, the Seagulls are by no means safe, sitting just two points above Saturday's opponents. Graham Potter's revolution is in full swing, but a run of poor results has left the south coast club scrapping at the foot of the table yet again - with Brighton winning just one of their last ten matches in all competitions.
Here is 90min's preview of this vital clash towards the bottom of the Premier League.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 1 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||London Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||NBC Sports Gold
Moyes is without the attacking threats of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko for this one, with both wide men expected back in late February. The injury-prone Jack Wilshere is also still missing for the Hammers.
In more positive news, Michail Antonio may return to the team having missed a number of recent games on and off through injury. Meanwhile, new January signing Tomas Soucek could make his debut, and youngster Jeremy Ngakia - who impressed midweek - will likely retain his place in the starting lineup due to Ryan Fredericks' injury.
Brighton will be without the defensive duo of Shane Duffy and Dan Burn, while winger Jose Izquierdo remains sidelined with a knee problem. Aaron Mooy will celebrate his loan deal at the Amex Stadium being made permanent with a start in London as well.
It is yet to be seen if the Seagulls will add to their squad before the end of the transfer window, but any new signings would likely arrive too late to feature against West Ham.
|West Ham||Fabianski; Ngakia, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Rice, Soucek, Snodgrass; Antonio, Haller|
|Brighton||Ryan; Montoya, Webster, Dunk, Bernardo; Stephens, Propper, Gross, Mooy, Jahanbakhsh; Maupay|
These two teams have clashed on 52 occasions in the past and, quite incredibly, boast identical records. Both sides have won 18 of the meetings, with 16 draws shared between the pair.
However, a slight caveat to this is that West Ham haven't beaten Brighton since the teams faced off in the Championship back in 2012, having lost three and drawn two of the Premier League meetings. The reverse fixture in August saw the spoils shared, with Leandro Trossard and Javier Hernandez grabbing the goals - the latter has since made two transfers and is now playing for LA Galaxy.
It's fair to say that both sides have been in utterly dismal form of late, perhaps not filling either fan base with a great deal of optimism ahead of a crucial 'six-pointer'.
Moyes has won just two of the seven game since his return - one of which was against Gillingham in the FA Cup - and has lost his last three matches. Despite a barnstorming 4-0 win over Bournemouth on his first game back in the dugout, the Hammers have lost to Sheffield United, Leicester and Championship side West Brom since, failing to keep a clean sheet in their last five, while only scoring just two in those matches.
Brighton are also enduring a rough patch at the moment, winning just two of their last 14 games in all competitions. The Seagulls have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five outings, and their recent 3-1 defeat to struggling Bournemouth in their last match has left them in serious trouble.
Star striker Neal Maupay has also failed to find his shooting boots recently, having last netted against Crystal Palace in mid-December.
Here is each side's last five results in all competitions:
|West Ham 0-2 Liverpool (29/1)||Bournemouth 3-1 Brighton (21/1)|
|West Ham 0-1 West Brom (25/1)||Brighton 1-1 Aston Villa (18/1)|
|Leicester 4-1 West Ham (22/1)||Everton 1-0 Brighton (11/1)|
|West Ham 1-1 Everton (18/1)||Brighton 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday (4/1)|
|Sheffield United 1-0 West Ham (10/1)||Brighton 1-1 Chelsea (1/1)|
If you're expecting a classic encounter between two Premier League sides fighting tooth and nail for their place in the top flight, then perhaps think again.
Source : 90min