West Ham United will be desperate to collect their first points of the new campaign as they host Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium.
Two defeats on the bounce to Manchester City and Nottingham Forest is not what David Moyes would have expected from this team, especially in the game against Forest where a last-minute penalty miss by Declan Rice cost them a vital point. The Hammers certainly deserved more after Benrahma had a goal disallowed by VAR before woodwork denied him and Fornals the opportunities to score the vital goal. But Moyes’ men made a comeback midweek in a 3-1 victory over Viborg FF in the UEFA Europa Conference League. New signing Gianluca Scamacca netted his first goal for the Irons since his big-money arrival from Sassuolo while Kehrer made his debut instantly after signing for the club.
Brighton, on the other hand, have made a strong start to the 2022-23 season. After a strong display on opening day against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Seagulls were pretty wasteful with their chances in the goalless draw with Newcastle. When will Brighton address the question of bringing a proper killer goalscorer remains to be seen as they consistently underperform their xG metrics. The ambitions of Tony Bloom have been clear since arriving in the Premier League but it is time that the club aims for more after a campaign last year where they finished ninth with their highest points tally in the top flight of English football.
Where and When?
Venue: London Stadium.
Date: Sunday, 21s August 2022.
Time: 14:00 BST.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick & Adam Nunn.
Fourth Official: Graham Scott.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Nick Greenhalgh.
Nayef Aguerd will be out for a long time owing to an ankle injury and looks very likely to start training in October. Craig Dawson is expected to make a comeback but not for this fixture. Those were the only injury concerns in Moyes’ team.
Scamacca scored on his full debut in midweek and should be a consideration in the starting eleven soon, while Kurt Zouma, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice and Said Benrahma all should start this fixture after completing their bench duties midweek.
After making his club debut in the Conference League fixture, Thilo Kehrer is well in line to start and make his Premier League debut on Sunday.
As for Potter, he has only one injury concern Jakub Moder who was injured in the fixture against Norwich last season will not be available for the game. His expected timeline to comeback seems to be at the end of February next year.
Potter will be expected to name the same lineup this week with the exception of Pervis Estupinan, who joined the club from Villareal could either start or get some minutes under the belt on the left-wing back as the game progresses.
We do really have a tactical battle on our hands. On one hand, we have Brighton, whose free-flowing and elegant-looking football attracts the minds of even the neutrals with various tactical changes made by the coach throughout the game and on the other hand, we have the Irons who are very well known for being for physical and a system where every player works very hard in and out of possession.
The Hammers do have an advantage with the home support and on paper, they are the better side but if we go by the history between these two clubs, it’s Brighton who have had the upper hand every single time since they got promoted to the top flight. In their ten meetings, the Seagulls have won four of them including the one on the last matchday which resulted in West Ham getting pushed out of the UEFA Europa League spots into the Conference League.
Brighton under Potter are described as a side who like to have the ball but the opening two fixtures have not seen gain the upper hand in possession with just 45.3% of the ball in the last game against Newcastle United. Also the Seagulls’ ability to not convert their chances continued in the first two games and last game as especially evident that the club needs to dip into the market for a scoring forward with Neal Maupay also set to leave the club.
West Ham’s captain needs to step up in this game if his team were to collect all the three points at home. It was his miss in the dying embers of the game that cost them the one point. Rice was arguably one of the best midfielders in England and in Europe last year. He was generally seen as a more defensive midfielder before but the player has added another dimension to his game.
He is clearly becoming in the team’s overall play and has started to contribute more on the offence as well. Touches in the opposition box, progressive passes and chances created are on an all-time high while maintaining his defensive work. Rice reclaimed possession more times than any other player in the Premier League this season.
Even as an individual he has grown. Now he has been tasked with armband duties of the club after Mark Noble bid adieu to his beloved club after spending eighteen years at the club. This shows the kind of trust the manager has in his abilities as a personality. His UEFA Euros 2020 final performance is still fresh in everyone’s mind and so he will be the player that needs to take his team over the line.
Brighton’s recruitment team have done it again. In just 10 Premier League appearances Moises Caicedo has proven what a bargain he is and why the £4.5m paid for his services is now clearly looking like an underpayment. It is so crazy that Liverpool are very interested in him and are willing to bid in excess of £50m for his services according to Studio Futbol’s Jose Alberto Molestina but after Bissouma and Cucurella sales to Spurs and Chelsea resp. for fees in excess of £75m, the Seagulls are in the driving seat.
His versatility was evident when he played two completely different roles. In the win at Old Trafford, Caicedo played in a midfield duo with Alexis Mac Allister and in the draw against Newcastle, he played on the left side of a three-man midfield. His hard work off the ball has been vital for Brighton while his dribbling looks keep on improving as the season progresses on.
This will be a huge season for Moises if he keeps his progression then we can expect more bids like the Liverpool to come through but with a slight difference, that is the numbers will keep going up for this young man’s services.
West Ham United: Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Johnson, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Mac Allister, Caicedo, Trossard; Gross, Lallana; Welbeck.