Southampton play their second home game of the season due to the fact that today’s opponents West Ham are temporarily without a ground due to the London Stadium being used for the IAAF World Athletics Championships. The Saints will look to build on last week’s bore draw with Swansea while West Ham will hope this next stop of their mini tour of the UK fares better than last Sunday.
The Hammers currently prop up the Premier League table after their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford. It was a performance where Jose Mourinho’s men earn full credit for all their attacking endeavour but at the same time Slaven Bilic’s side were hapless in all areas of the pitch.
It was certainly a debut to forget for the quarter of summer signings that made the move to East London. Those being Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez. The only real contribution from any of these four was Hart picking the ball out of the net after each time he conceded.
The fact that West Ham have signed those aforementioned players will have no doubt given the club some optimism going into the season especially as it marked a sign of their ambition this season. But that optimism will have taken something of a leveling off after such a heavy defeat and Slaven Bilic can ill afford another on this afternoon.
He goes up against Mauricio Pellegrino who managed to get his Premier League managerial career off to something of an unsparing start last weekend. His Saints side played out a 0-0 draw with Swansea in which there was very little of note to write about.
Pellegrino will at least be happy that his club have got of the mark but they lacked any real spark against Paul Clement’s Swansea and the hope will be that this is not a precursor of things to come for the next nine months of the season.
Of course when you talk about Southampton recently it is usually about Virgil van Dijk and this week has been no different. The transfer saga has taken an additional twist as the club have gone on record and said that they are not looking to sell the Dutch international.
Now considering the former Celtic defender has already handed in a transfer request it does beg the question just to what his status with the club will be by the start of next month. One thing is for certain though and that is he in unavailable to play today.
In a week where Southampton have announced a takeover by a Chinese businessman they will now look to start this new chapter of the club’s history with a win. They may not have been all that exciting against Swansea but they at least have something of a defensive platform to work with.
Something that West Ham were evidently lacking last Sunday, I think with another home fixture under their belts this will make The Saints the favourites. I think it is going to be another miserable trip on West Ham’s summer tour of the country, home win for me.
And you can vote about the outcome on social media
The outcome between #Southampton and West Ham?
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) August 18, 2017