The break – which seemed like an eternity – is over, and the West Ham players that were away on international duty have all returned to training ahead of their trip to Southampton on Saturday.
This batch of players includes three of the Hammers’ new signings – Kurt Zouma, Nikola Vlasic, and Alex Kral – who will all be eyeing up their respective debuts as they look to challenge the first team that has started the season so brightly.
Zouma – who starred for France during the international break – is perhaps the most likely to start to help improve the West Ham defense, with five goals conceded in their opening three fixtures – a record that David Moyes will be looking to ameliorate sooner rather than later.
Last time out, the Hammers shook hands and shared the points in their first London derby of the season against Crystal Palace, a somewhat disappointing result given their start to the season, but one that still kept them in second place in the Premier League table.
While West Ham has been lethal in offense so far, their defense is leaking goals far too frequently for the boss’ liking.
Moyes will be keen to get back to winning ways against a Southampton side who West Ham have gotten the better of over the past few years, most recently with a 3-0 victory at London Stadium on the final day of last season – a game which secured Europa League qualification for the Irons.
So, will the break from club football have calmed our supporters down after a blistering start to the campaign or has the momentum carried over with nothing but positivity following some key signings?
Here are the predictions from the Green Street Hammers staff ahead of West Ham’s visit to take on the Saints at St Mary’s.
Jeremiah: Southampton 0-2 West Ham
The Hammers’ winning streak may have been thwarted last time against Palace, but the form is still there. Even during the international break, West Ham players have been on fire for their home countries. And we can’t forget to mention that David Moyes has a few new lads to rotate in the squad.
The away trip to Saint Mary’s should have two new debuts to discuss as Areola and Zouma are knocking on the door. Look for West Ham to keep up with The Saints and prevail in the end. Southampton has looked ok so far, but the Hammers have all the firepower to bring all three points back to East London.
Jack: Southampton 1-2 West Ham
The international break probably came at a good time for us after our 2-2 draw with Palace. Defensively we weren’t great, and we made weak mistakes which led to both of Palace’s goals.
Now, with a couple of new signings under our belts and a bit of a rest for some players, we should be back to firing on all cylinders. Southampton has had a bit of a ropey start and will be looking to gain some more points, but if we are playing our way, we should be taking all three points back to east London. St Mary’s can be a difficult place to go at times, and the return of fans will make it even harder. We might see Areola make his West Ham debut, and we could also potentially see Vlasic and Zouma too.
I think we will win 2-1 with Antonio and Benrahma scoring for us and with Adam Armstrong scoring Southampton’s goal.
Alex: Southampton 1-1 West Ham
After a slightly disappointing draw to Crystal Palace, the Hammers head down to the south coast with some new signings – finally!
However, I’m not expecting Kurt Zouma to start ahead of Craig Dawson just yet, having been away on international duty with France, whilst Nikola Vlasic could offer something different off the bench.
We have a great record versus the Saints – winning six of the last seven – and if Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals continue their form, there’s plenty of hope West Ham can pick up another three points.
James: Southampton 0-3 West Ham
West Ham has a good track record against Southampton and scores three goals against them, as was the case last and the previous season. This is why I’m going to say a 3-0 win.
The Saints have lost a lot of their regulars to transfers, with the only real consistency being James Ward-Prowse staying. Ward-Prowse is now Southampton’s go-to player. They have signed a lot of players, but they don’t appear to have improved the team greatly. Southampton may struggle on Saturday, whilst West Ham will show their new signings off and hopefully win.
Lou: Southampton 1-2 West Ham
The only thing I am wary about for this fixture is the possibility of tired legs given how many of our players featured for their nations during the international break, but that is probably just me creating problems in my own head, given the overall fitness of our squad.
Southampton is one club that doesn’t look forward to playing us, given our record against them over the last few seasons, with six out of the last seven matches ending in victory to the Hammers, with the other one ending in a draw.
I like to think that this pattern will continue as we head to St Mary’s, having scored ten goals in our opening three games, whilst the likes of Kurt Zouma and perhaps Alphonse Areola may make their respective debuts to bolster our shaky defense.
It is well noted that Michail Antonio has started the season on fire but, even if he has an off day, we have got enough quality in attack to make sure we score goals.