West Ham United v Burnley preview: Hammers look to pull away from bottom three
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

West Ham United will look to build on their recent positive results and performances against a depleted Burnley side at the London Stadium on Wednesday.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

The Hammers will likely be without record-signing Sebastien Haller once again as he continues his comeback from a hip injury which has denied him any action since the restart.

In midfield, Felipe Anderson will also miss the game through a hip injury and Robert Snodgrass is absent due to a back injury.

As a result, West Ham's predicted XI could look like the following:

Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks; Rice, Soucek, Yarmolenko, Noble, Bowen; Antonio.

For The Clarets, they are running low on options at the back as club-captain Ben Mee is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a thigh strain, leaving just two senior central defenders available for selection in Kevin Long and James Tarkowski.

Midfielder Jack Cork is also likely to miss the remainder of the campaign as he may require surgery to repair an everlasting ankle issue.

Mee and Cork join Ashley Barnes and Matt Lowton on the sidelines, with the club also reluctant to bring Ben Gibson back into the fold despite the lack of defensive options.

On the positive side, Johann Berg Gudmundsson will be available again, as will Chris Wood after their returns from the bench against Sheffield United, and Robbie Brady will be with the squad again after being an unused substitute against The Blades.

As a result, Burnley could make two changes of their own and start the game like this:

Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Long, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez.

Recent form suggests an open encounter

The Hammers have turned their form around slightly in the last two games, picking up four points, in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle United and the 3-2 win over Chelsea in the last game at the London Stadium.

After twice leading at St James’ Park, first through Michail Antonio then through Tomas Soucek, The Irons were pegged back by Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey but produced a spirited performance to open a four point gap between themselves and Aston Villa who occupy the third relegation spot.

Sean Dyche has seen his side recover from the 5-0 rout by Manchester City in their first game back to pick up two wins and a draw in their next three games.

Scoring just three goals in those three games, The Clarets have done just enough in 1-0 wins against Watford and Crystal Palace and were arguably the better team on Sunday against European hopefuls Sheffield United, leading until the 87th minute of that game.

Tarkowski opened the scoring with a calm finish before half time, but John Egan rescued a point for The Blades to ensure the points were shared at Turf Moor in a 1-1 draw. 

Recent meetings favour Burnley heavily

The Irons have not fared to fondly in the last five meetings against Burnley, finding themselves on the winning side of the score-line on just one occasion.

The Clarets have won three of the other games, including the infamous game when West Ham fans protested against the owners, in the 2017-18 season were the visitors left London with a 3-0 win and a giant step towards European Qualification.

This season saw Dyche and his men claim victory by the same score-line

Burnley 3-0 West Ham: 09/11/19

The Clarets ended their losing run and piled more misery onto West Ham’s with a comfortable 3-0 win back in November.

Barnes close range effort gave Burnley the lead before Wood doubled their lead before half time,th the hosts out of sight just ten minutes after the break after Hammers’ ‘keeper Roberto turning an Ashley Westwood corner bizarrely into his own net.

The result left West Ham just two places above the relegation zone, a position they find themselves in now, Burnley rose to ninth which is one position higher than where they sit currently.

Embed from Getty Images

Players to watch

West Ham: Declan Rice

Declan Rice is undoubtedly one of the best young English midfielders in the Premier League at the minute.

According to Premierleague.com Rice leads the team in several statistical areas, including interceptions with 65, tackles with a 102 and also leads the team in number of passes completed.

Against a Burnley side who like to play direct, Rice’s job will be to pick the loose balls off of his defenders but will also be asked to do a lot of running to bridge the gap between the attack and the defence as well being a presence in both boxes from set pieces.

Michail Antonio

Antonio produced a man of the match performance against Chelsea with his hold up play being praised as well as his finish for the Hammers equaliser.

The forward is looking to score for the third game running for the first time since September 2016, and has been involved in five goals in his last six appearances (three goals and two assists), impressive considering the team themselves have only scored eight.

Embed from Getty Images

Burnley: James Tarkowski

Looking to stop Antonio will be Tarkowski, who has a big task on his hands in captaining the Clarets in the absence of Mee.

Tarkowski has produced a string of consistent performances and will be able to match up well against Antonio who will be looking to support the midfield in the build up play as much as possible.

Like Rice, the England international sits top of his team’s tackle and interceptions leader boards on Premierleague.com, but also holds the top spot on aerial battles won and tackles, both 174.

With two goals this season as well, the big defender is also a threat in the box and will be tightly guarded from set pieces.

Burnley: Chris Wood

The returning Wood will be looking to add to his 11 goals which is enough to lead his side.

The Clarets have missed his target man presence up top alongside Jay Rodriguez, who has deputised with Matej Vydra in Wood’s and Barnes’ absence.

A fox in the box, Wood will not be afraid to put himself about to get on the end of crosses from Westwood and Dwight McNeil but will also be strong in holding the ball up to allow the midfield to get up with play.

Baring in mind, this will be the big New Zealand international’s first game back after a lengthy layoff, but he should be able to re-find his goalscoring touch in no time if West Ham are not careful.

What the managers have said

Moyes made a big point in his press conference to lament the Premier League schedule, saying his players “need recovery time.”

Moyes said his players have “been great and really looked after themselves” especially as the team hasn’t changed too much since the return to action.

The Hammers boss was very complimentary of what Dyche has achieved at Burnley, especially through the midst of their injury and contract crises.

“Burnley have had a brilliant season and Sean has done a great job, but hopefully he’s not too interested in this game,” Moyes joked in his press conference.

In his press conference, Dyche told the media he knows the quality that West Ham possess saying: “We have got to have a strong day and you want them to have a quiet day.”

The Clarets sit just three points away from a European spot and Dyche believes it is a “sign of respect” for his team to be mentioned in that conversation.

“We are in and around it and to be on the edge of things with Europe is pleasing for the group and myself.”

How to watch the game

The game is live on BT Sport, kicking off at 6pm.

VAVEL Logo