West Ham United Preview vs Brighton & Hove Albion

The strong run of form continues further for West Ham United, as they look to build on this with a trip to the AMEX Stadium on Friday night to face Brighton & Hove Albion. The Hammers are in high spirits after their 3-1 victory over Manchester United last Saturday, but the hosts have a point to prove as they look to secure just their second win of 2018/19.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side could essentially be unchanged. The only new name to the injury list really is Carlos Sanchez, but the midfield trio of Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice were particularly impressive last week. There seems no real need to change this, and with Sanchez and Jack Wilshere (despite his poor form so far) injured anyway, that looks unlikely.

Again, the central defensive partnership of Issa Diop and Fabian Balbeuna is improving with each game and the comments made by Jose Mourinho post-match regarding the former shows what a solid investment he was. Costing £20m+ is quite a lot, but considering the amount of interest and attention he has, plus his potential to develop further, it will surely be a bargain in this current market. Balbuena again is showing what a bargain he was and is swiftly on his way to becoming a fan favourite.

The Seagulls meanwhile have the return of attacker Jose Izquierdo, a player who scored in both fixtures against West Ham last season. Despite missing a large chunk of this season, plus some of pre-season too, he returned in an U23s game last week and could may well be fit to start or at least have some involvement off the bench on Friday night.

They will rely on the likes of Pascal Groß, Glenn Murray or Yves Bissouma to provide the main attacking threats if there is no Izquierdo, with Anthony Knockaert or Jurgen Locadia other options too. There is no shortage of players that can help Brighton, but they have not really managed to do so this season with just one win in the league to their name.

Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 West Ham United

Possible lineup (4-3-3): Lukasz Fabianski; Arthur Masuaku, Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Pablo Zabaleta; Mark Noble, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang; Andriy Yarmolenko, Marko Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson.


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