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West Ham: Predicted XI for Southampton trip

West Ham United take on struggling Southampton at St Mary’s this afternoon, with David Moyes’ side looking to pick up their fifth successive win in all competitions, having begun to show signs of life after an initial slow start to the campaign.

The Hammers’ latest triumph came at home to Belgian outfit Anderlecht in the Europa Conference League, as the east Londoners maintained their perfect start to the competition with a 2-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen.

The latter man remains a particularly lethal presence at the London Stadium, with that having been his third goal in four games across all fronts.

However, the Englishman will be hoping to improve on his underwhelming record on the road, with just four goals in 54 Premier League away appearances to date.

Up against a side whom the Irons’ failed to beat in three meetings last term, here’s how Football FanCast predicts that Moyes’ men will line up…

The visitors are facing a number of potential availability concerns ahead of that clash, with both Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson having been forced off with injury in midweek, while fellow centre-back Kurt Zouma missed the match entirely due to illness – as did striker Michail Antonio. Summer signing Thilo Kehrer was another who sat out that win as a “precaution”, although the expectation is that the German ace should be in line to return, despite lingering doubts over teammate Zouma.

Amid that defensive crisis, we predict that Moyes will make five changes from that midweek outing, with the former Everton boss potentially set to persist with a back five, due to the possible lack of centre-back options.

In goal, Lukasz Fabianski will resume his usual league starting berth, with the aforementioned Kehrer – as well as Ben Johnson and Aaron Cresswell – forming something of a makeshift back line.

At wing-back, Vladimir Coufal and Emerson Palmieri will likely keep their places having started on Thursday night, while there could be two alterations in midfield with the first-choice pairing of Tomas Soucek and skipper Declan Rice likely to return.

In attack, Pablo Fornals could well be forced to give way as a result of the formation tweak, with the £67k-per-week “machine” – as dubbed by broadcaster Tom Rennie – having started in last week’s win over Fulham.

That should well see an attacking trio of that man Bowen, alongside new arrivals Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca, with the latter man having looked “very dangerous” of late, according to journalist Tom Collomosse, with two goals in his last two league games.

Article title: West Ham: Predicted XI for Southampton trip

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