It’s been 14 days since West Ham’s last league match. After an FA Cup warm-up, the Hammers are back in action vs Burnley
West Ham United host Burnley and manager Sean Dyche and Hammer-killer Chris Wood at the Olympic Stadium looking to win three straight in all competitions to start the new year for the first time since 2016. Here’s what to watch for in Matchweek 19.
Michail Antonio’s Fitness & Health
Michail Antonio played the full 90 vs Stockport in the FA Cup match. The full 90 on a sloppy field no less. But Antonio looked less than 100%. Much like his prior return from the hamstring injury, he seemed to be out of gas early. Perhaps it was the playing conditions causing him to be cautious, maybe he’s just not match-fit.
With the departure of Sebastian Haller now more than ever the club needs a healthy and firing Antonio leading the line.
Without his pace and power, Antonio doesn’t provide much of a threat to opposing centre backs. As he goes, so go the Hammers in this match.
Players Returning to the Squad
Lukasz Fabianski is set to return in this match after suffering a knock in warm-ups prior to the Everton match. He wasn’t expected to play in the Cup match anyway. With Randolph getting the call and the win, Fabianski has had two full weeks to recover.
Defenders Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena are also set to return from injury and are available for selection. The question for David Moyes though is: do either Diop or Balbuena deserve the start here in front of suddenly in form Craig Dawson?
In three starts the club has three clean sheets when Dawson has played. And he saved the Irons from the fire with his goal vs Stockport.
Right Back Ryan Fredericks is also healthy to return. He figures to make the bench as a start ahead of Vladamir Coufal seems highly unlikely.
It’s a no-brainer Fabianski is in the starting XI. Much less likely so for the others. With a thin squad already before the departures of Haller and Robert Snodgrass last week, the starting XI should basically choose itself. Again.
A Chance to Round into Form after Sloppy Night in Stockport
I haven’t been watching West Ham Football as long as many, but that was arguably one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen.
There is some dramatic theatrics when playing a non-league team at a small ground in an absolute deluge. But the conditions didn’t help the play. Neither did West Ham.
Considering the conditions and the long stretches the club dominated the ball with it amounting to absolute zero, it wasn’t an enjoyable match. When Dawson scored it was relief, not joy.
Here the Irons have a chance to put that behind them vs Burnley. Burnley has a -13 GD so this is the perfect opportunity for WHU to get back to their goal-scoring ways. They haven’t scored three goals since the October surprise vs Spurs. Burnley also doesn’t score. So the suddenly stout Hammers defence and return of Fabianski should play out well here
Regardless of what happened in the FA cup match; West Ham on paper should look at this match not only as an opportunity to take all three points at home vs a subpar opponent. But as a chance to look good on the pitch while doing it.
Where to Watch
West Ham vs Burnley TV Coverage UK: Premier Play HD / Amazon Prime NOW TV Sky Sports Premier League USA: Peacock CAN: DAZN AUS: Sky Sport 2 CHN: QQ Sports Live MEX: Sky HD UAE: BeIn Sports Connect