Pundit Paul Merson fires a warning to West Ham and has some advice for Hammers boss David Moyes for the rest of the campaign.
West Ham entertain Southampton at the London Stadium on Boxing Day hoping to get back on track.
The Hammers are in a difficult moment right now after a run which has seen them win just one of their last six Premier League games and be knocked out of the Carabao Cup.
There were plenty of positives from West Ham’s performance in the 2-1 defeat to Spurs in midweek, though.
West Ham are spending Christmas in the top five of the Premier League for the first time since the 2014/15 season.
Moyes’s side now face a very winnable – on paper at least – run of games with Southampton up first.
And pundit Paul Merson has fired a warning to West Ham, offering Moyes advice on how to attack the rest of the season (Sportskeeda).
“West Ham need to win this game,” Merson told Sportskeeda.
“They were disappointing against Arsenal last week and need to start winning Premier League matches again. They’ve made a positive start to the season under Moyes but seem to have hit a rough patch this month.
“West Ham could find themselves in seventh or eighth at this rate. They’ve crashed out of the cup as well and will have to do without Antonio for the rest of the year. They need to stay in and around sixth place, and a short burst could see them nick a top-four place.
“Southampton also seem to be facing hard times and have flattered to deceive this year. West Ham are the better team at the moment and Declan Rice could be the difference between the two sides this weekend. Prediction: West Ham United 2-0 Southampton.”
And it is probably a bit much to suggest West Ham “crashed” out of the cup. They were comfortably the better side but were toothless up top and were narrowly beaten by a side who have had lots of rest recently and are playing under a new manager.
Merson makes a brilliant point about hanging around the top six and making a late surge for the top four, though.
West Ham have always struggled being “the hunted”. Everytime they get themselves in the top four they struggle to cope with the expectation and falter.
Flying under the radar suits West Ham much better and hovering around fifth and sixth place may be easier to manage.
West Ham play several sides who will be in the race for a top four spot in the last couple of months of the season.
So being in good shape for that period could catapult West Ham into the top four when all the pressure is on other clubs.