Swansea City vs West Ham United Preview: Can the Swans sort their defensive woes?

Swansea City vs West Ham United Preview: Can the Swans sort their defensive woes?

After conceding 15 goals in their last five games, the South Wales outfit welcome a Hammers side who have kept back-to-back clean sheets.

Ameé Ruszkai

West Ham United are looking to inflict a third successive defeat upon Swansea City on Boxing Day, and to claim their third win on the bounce with it.

The Swans have shipped 15 goals in their last five games against unremarkable opposition - Tottenham Hotspur the stand out name amongst Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough.

West Ham, meanwhile, travel to the Liberty Stadium following back-to-back 1-0 successes at home to Burnley and Hull City as they bid to get their season back on track.

Home form says a lot

When a team is struggling, winning home games becomes even more important. Swansea sit second-bottom in the Premier League, but they have won their last two games in South Wales.

A comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sunderland succeeded an incredibly entertaining 5-4 win against Palace, making up half of the Swans' points for the season.

West Ham too have made home games count recently, as aforementioned, in a bid to resurrect their underwhelming season. However, away from home they have won just once all season - that a 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park back in October.

They haven't won any of their five games on the road since, with three defeats and two draws. Bob Bradley's men will more than fancy their chances of keeping their good run going then, with the Liberty faithful behind them.

Swansea's need to keep, or find, their heads

Slaven Bilic's side were applauded for their excellent football last season, but it's hardly worked wonders this season.

West Ham are currently wallowing in mid-table, left to ponder just why things aren't working out for them.

Enter Andy Carroll; Mr. Plan B. If Bilic watched Swansea's collapse against West Brom earlier this month, chances are he pictured Carroll being able to replicate the performance of Salomon Rondon.

The Venezuelan headed home a hat-trick at the Hawthorns as his side ran out 3-1 winners, with Swansea's lack of focus and communication at the back allowing the towering striker to be left unmarked for each of his goals - and on other occasions too.

With Carroll expected to start, Bradley will need to rejig his back line. Jordi Amat has been exposed on too many occasions in the last two outings, and Mike van der Hoorn is likely to take his place in the centre of defence as a result.

Amat and Kyle Naughton are both one yellow card away from suspension before the New Year wipes the disciplinary slate clean too, so it would come as little surprise to see neither feature.

Team news

Amat out and van der Hoorn in is likely to be the only change to the Swansea side that lost at Middlesbrough last time out.

Fernando Llorente will provide a real presence up top while Gylfi Sigurdsson pulls the strings behind him - brimming with confidence after being named Iceland's Player of the Year for the sixth time.

Federico Fernandez and Ki Sung-Yeung are the Swans' only absentees through injury.

Pedro Obiang is suspended for West Ham, with Edimilson Fernandes the favourite to fill his position in central midfield alongside Mark NobleHavard Nordtveit will hope he's trained well enough to make Bilic's decision a little tougher though, as he competes for the same place.

Diafra Sakho was this week ruled out of action for up to two months with a thigh injury, while James Collins and Simone Zaza are also doubts due to hamstring and knee problems respectively.

Andre Ayew is unlikely to start for the Hammers against his former side, but provides Bilic with an effective option off the bench.

Swansea predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Rangel, van der Hoorn, Mawson, Taylor; Britton, Fulton; Barrow, Sigurdsson, Routledge; Llorente.

West Ham predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Randolph; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Antonio, Fernandes, Noble, Cresswell; Lanzini, Payet; Carroll.