The Inside Track: West Ham

By SFC Media Wed 16 Aug Saints v West Ham
Photo by Getty Images | Javier Hernandez

Ahead of Southampton's next Premier League game, we got the lowdown on their opponents from Dave Evans, the West Ham correspondent for Recorder Newspapers.

Who have been the big arrivals this summer?

West Ham have splashed the cash this season and, by the time the transfer window closes, they may well have broken their club-record fee twice.

Experience has been the key for Slaven Bilić and the board this time round after the disappointment of last summer’s business, and none come more experienced than Pablo Zabaleta.

The former Man City man has won just about everything in his time and he will fill that gap at right-back, which was troublesome last term.

Joe Hart has come in on a season-long loan and, though Adrián will contest the number one spot, it is likely to be the England keeper who gets the nod.

Javier Hernandez is certainly an exciting signing and, at just £16 million, something of a bargain as well. The former Man United striker moves to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen and you can see him being a great success.

West Ham shelled out a club-record £24 million to bring Marko Arnautović from Stoke City. The Austria international certainly knows the Premier League and his versatility playing up front or on the wing, could be vital.

The Hammers were also hoping to sign William Carvalho for a new club-record £30m in time for this clash.

What are the expectations this season?

Expectations are always high with West Ham and the arrival of some exciting new signings has exacerbated that.

Last season they had the problems of a new stadium, the Dimitri Payet issue and a host of injuries to contend with and so finishing 11th was something of a success.

But the board and the fans will be looking for the team to push on this term and gaining a European place is the goal.

What did you learn from the opening weekend?

We learned that you can’t take on a Manchester United side when your key players are missing.

Michail Antonio, Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll were all out injured and, when you couple that with defensive errors, there was only ever going to be one winner.

United look as if they will be in the title race, while West Ham were left to lick their wounds and get ready for this game, with one or two of those players back.

What sort of style of play do you expect from them?

West Ham often play a counter-attacking game away from home and that seems likely to be the road they go down once again.

Having been thumped at home against the Saints last season, they bounced back to win at St Mary's, with one of their better displays.

The manager is likely to make one or two changes, but he is unlikely to change his style and so they are set up to try and hit Southampton on the break.

Who will be their key men this weekend?

Antonio is likely to return, and his pace and trickery could be the key to the game, hurting Southampton on the break.

The Saints usually create chances against the Hammers, so Joe Hart will also hope for a better day than he suffered on his debut at Old Trafford, where he let in four goals

If he plays, then Manuel Lanzini will certainly be a key. He is battling to be fit, but he is the main playmaker in the team and can run the game on his own.

Unfortunately, Carroll will not be fit enough to try and match the goal he scored at St Mary's last February.

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