Both Southampton and West Ham United have a serious point to prove when they lock horns at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Saints actually put in a solid performance last time out against Swansea, producing 13 shots on goal and limiting the Swans to a grand total of zero, while also dominating possession throughout the match.
However, quite crucially, they were not able to find the back of the net and had to settle for a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Manager Mauricio Pellegrino will have been content with what he saw from his charges in his first official game in charge but he will definitely be looking for more from his front men this weekend.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) August 18, 2017
Club record signing Mario Lemina looks likely to start the match, but want-away defender Virgil van Dijk misses out as speculation about his future at the club continues to mount. One positive in defence is the return of Ryan Bertrand, who has shaken off a mid-week knock.
While West Ham manager Slaven Bilic admitted during the week that he has a lot of sympathy for his counterpart over the situation regarding his star center back, he will surely be looking to make the most of any uncertainty Southampton have in defence.
The likes of Chicarito, Marco Arnautovic and Andre Ayew are going to be asking a lot of questions of the home side’s back four.
Michael Antonio returns to the match-day squad for the Hammers after recovering from his pre-season hamstring surgery, but is unlikely to start. Cheikhou Kouyate and Manuel Lanzini (knee) and Andy Carroll (thigh) all miss out through injury.