Southampton want third win on the bounce against West Ham United


Southampton are hoping their recent revival under new manager Ralph Hassenhuttl continues at home against West Ham United on Thursday night.

Since taking over from Mark Hughes, the Austrian has guided his Saints side to two wins after losing his first game 1-0 away at Cardiff City. Victories over Arsenal and Huddersfield have lifted his team out of the relegation zone and a feel good factor has returned to the south coast.

West Ham, under the tutelage of former Premier League winner Manuel Pellegrini, have been in fine form in recent weeks, winning four of the last five games.

A recent 2-0 loss at Watford was preceded by four consecutive wins, which has projected the Hammers up to 12th in the table, a run made more impressive by the injuries West Ham are suffering.

Star man Marko Arnautovic has struggled to hit 100% fitness for large parts of the season, playing through the pain barrier before a hamstring injury forced a spell on the sidelines for the Austrian forward.

The physio’s room at the London club contains no less than 10 players, and Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez, Winston Reid, Andrey Yarmolenko and Ryan Fredericks have been and continue to be long term absentees. Arnautovic hopes to pass a late fitness test to take part, as does Javier Hernandez, Lucas Perez and Fabian Balbeuna.

Southampton meanwhile have just the one injury concern as captain Ryan Bertrand is recovering from a minor back operation and is unavailable for this game. His absence will mean Matt Targett will continue to deputise at left back.

Fixtures between these two sides often offer high levels of entertainment, with both taking the share of the spoils in equal amounts in recent years.

Last season featured a late penalty at St. Mary’s which Charlie Austin calmly converted to give the home side a 3-2 victory early in the season. The return fixture saw Southampton struggle to impose themselves as West Ham steamrolled them in a 3-0 victory at The London Stadium.

The table in it’s current state would give West Ham the advantage, being nine points better off than their rivals. But the feel good factor around Southampton and the style Hassenhuttl has brought in has given his side a new lease of life and positivity flows through the home fans.

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 West Ham United


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