What to Watch For: West Ham United vs Brighton

Sebastien Haller, West Ham. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Sebastien Haller, West Ham. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Things have not gone the West Ham way when facing Brighton in the Premier League. That has to change for the Hammers in Matchweek 15.

Points are at a premium over the busy Holiday fixture list. West Ham United have an opportunity to earn all three in this spot. Here are things to watch for in Matchweek 15

Arthur Masuaku- West Ham’s MVP

If you would have asked most West ham United supporters over the past calendar year who the Hammer’s Most Valuable Player was, not too many would have answered Arthur Masuaku. But apparently, he is the most valuable player in David Moyes squad.

With him deployed as a LWB the Irons play comfortably with a 3 at the back system that allows Masuaku to flourish as a wing-back.  That system has also played Aaron Cresswell into a form not seen in the past five seasons as the third centre back.  The Irons have looked like a team that could challenge any side outside of Liverpool when playing well.

West Ham left wingback Arthur Masuaku.
West Ham left wingback Arthur Masuaku. (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Now that King Arthur is out; the club’s ability to play the 5-4-1 / 3-4-3 system that had been so successful for them to start the season has vanished. And with it, the clubs proclivity to counter-attack, create chances, shots on target and goals.

Last time out vs Chelsea, the Hammers had no shots on target.  The goal-scoring has dropped off too.  Sure, you can blame that on the loss of Antonio but with Antonio out and Masuaku in, the club managed three wins.  Since Masuaku has been out; just one win.

Chances Created; Goals Scored

It’s one thing to not take the chances in a match when they are there for the taking. West Ham have been guilty of that on a few occasions this season. But its another thing altogether to not get a single shot on target in 90 minutes vs the Blues. That’s not acceptable. Especially considering that WHU was in control of possession and dictating play for long stretches of that match.

Brighton has the largest gap between goals allowed (20) and expected goals allowed (14.7) in the EPL this campaign. That should bode will for the Hammers on both accounts.  They need to create chances and shots and they need to finish them when presented.

Sebastian Haller and Jarrod Bowen have proven they can score. Said Benrahma has looked the part when he’s had the opportunity. He’s due for his debut goal.  Pablo Fornals final touch has been lacking, but he too has the ability to get on the score sheet.

This is a golden opportunity for someone to step up and get the Hammers going in the final third.

Gathering Points for the Holidays

West Ham play four matches over 10 days during the busy holiday period.  The best gift the club can get are points in the table.

Brighton presents the best chance to do just that. On paper at least.  The Chelsea match has come and gone.  Southampton and Everton are tough matches in a short span of time.

Almost as important as the three points here are the intangibles of momentum and confidence. The club had loads of both until the calendar turned to December.

Moral victories are for Sunday leagues, not Sunday matches in the Premier League.  West Ham United need to play well to get their confidence going and to build some momentum for the next two matches too.

But make no mistake about it; they need three points vs the Seagulls.

Next. Why Josh King is not the answer to West Ham’s problems?. dark

Where to Watch: West Ham United vs Brighton and Hove Albion

UK: Sky Go UK / Now TV /Sky Sports Premier League   US: NBC Sports Net

CAN: DAZN    MEX: Sky HD   CHN: QQ Sports Live     AUS: Optus Sport