Southampton-West Ham United Preview
Whilst frustration might be at an all-time high for West Ham United this season, they are doing their best to remain positive with the belief times will get better before it's really too late.
Sitting atop the Premier League relegation zone and winless since New Year's Day, West Ham again try to taste victory and do the double over Southampton, one of the few teams they've actually beat this term, on Saturday at London Stadium.
One of the most storied teams in all of English football, West Ham (6-6-15) have been living with the reality of relegation for some time now. They've conceded 16 goals during an 0-2-5 rut since beating Bournemouth 4-0 on Jan. 1.
The Hammers gave a spirited effort and led 2-1 at Anfield over runaway leaders Liverpool well over the hour mark before the Reds' big guns of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane scored to pull out a 3-2 victory for the hosts.
Whilst the result moved Liverpool further toward their first Premier League title, it left West Ham at the top of the drop with 24 points, but only one point from safety.
"Performances like (against Liverpool) are what we need to get out of trouble," midfielder Robert Snodgrass told West Ham's official website. "We need to stop conceding goals. It's not rocket science, it's the basics of football. If you don't make mistakes, you give yourself a better chance to win the game.
"We know ourselves, as footballers, that if we keep playing that way, we will get points on the board … There's definitely belief there."
Perhaps a visit from Southampton (10-4-13) will increase that level of belief. The Saints managed to turn their own season around and currently sit 12th in the table, but they also lost 1-0 to the Hammers at home on Dec. 14. Sebastien Haller scored in the 37th minute for West Ham for their most recent road triumph.
Haller has six Premier League goals, but only one in nine games since facing Southampton.
The Saints, meanwhile, are 6-1-3 since that loss, but avoided a third consecutive defeat with last weekend's 2-0 home victory over Aston Villa. Shane Long scored early and Stuart Armstrong late for Southampton, who had totaled one goal in their previous two contests.
"In games like (that) it's always important to take your chances and make sure you put the game to bed as quickly as you can," Armstrong told Southampton's official website. "You know it's the Premier League, and teams can come back at you - we've seen that before. It's about being patient and seeing it through."
Whilst Southampton will be without key midfielder Nathan Redmond for the time being due to a muscle injury, defender Kyle Walker-Peters is back training and could be available for selection.
Southampton's Danny Ings ranks among the Premier League leaders with 15 goals, but has just one over a five-game stretch.
Updated February 27, 2020