Finally, we welcome back Premier League football after the international break. West Ham will travel to the KCOM stadium to face Hull City. Despite still sitting in the bottom three, Hull’s home form of late might worry the Irons. The Tigers haven’t lost in their last five fixtures at the KCOM and will desperately look to pick up another win to pull them out of danger.
Hull City have had a turbulent season with two manager changes, an early player shortage and mixed form throughout. Silva has made headway since being appointed in January but currently, in 18th place, they are still in a desperate battle for survival. They will be looking to capitalize on an injury-hit Hammers side at home where Silva is yet to see his side lose.
West Ham are currently in a worrying dip of form. The Hammers home loss to Leicester was the third in a row and Bilic is now five games without a win. Pressure from the board and the press will concern the Croat, but a fixture against a side in the bottom three will be seen as a great opportunity to stop the rot. Hull have picked up eleven points since Silva’s arrival and will be looking to continue their fine form at home. Silva is counting on the Tigers home form to keep the club in the Premier League. Despite the team’s current position, this will be no easy fixture for West Ham. On the bright side, Hull’s top scorer this season will be pulling on a Hammers shirt this weekend. Robert Snodgrass notched 7 goals for Hull before signing for West Ham in January.
The Tigers captain Dawson has returned to training after a seven-week absence due to a calf injury. It’s not clear yet whether he’ll be fit to start but it will be a big boost for Silva and his side. They also welcome back goalkeeper David Marshall who should be returning to the Hull squad. Their biggest miss will be the suspended Tom Huddlestone following in red card at Everton. I reckon that Silva will be keen to reunite Hernandez and Niasse up front after the duo combined well against Swansea and drop his usual 4-5-1. Against a defense like West Ham’s, this is a fixture that the Tigers boss will certainly feel his side can score goals.
West Ham, on the other hand, took a triple hit in their loss to Leicester. Scans after the game ended Pedro Obiang’s season and sidelined Winston Reid for six weeks. Antonio will also miss the fixture, although he will hopefully return for West Ham’s home game against Arsenal. Noble should return to the squad following a dead leg to partner Kouyate, having been returned to the midfield. Ayew should keep his place after continuing his scoring run against the foxes. Whilst I think Bilic will select Snodgrass against his old club to replace Antonio. Bilic’s defensive selection will be interesting. He could favor a back three as he switched to after Reid’s injury, or replace Reid in a back four. I have a feeling he will want a back four heading away and slot Collins alongside Fonte, but Hull will almost certainly look to exploit this lack of pace.
GK) Marshall (If fit)
CB) Dawson (C) (if fit)
West Ham United:
CM) Noble (C)
Hull City 151/100 Draw 5/2 West Ham 21/10
– Via Daily Mail
Both teams will feel that this is a must win and the fixture could go either way. Hull offer a lot at home and Silva will be keen to use the home advantage. Despite this, the Hammers possess a stronger squad and still have plenty of threat going forward. I’m going for another draw but we should really be picking up three points against sides in the bottom three. Ayew’s form in front of goal could be vital in this one.
Hull City 2 – 2 West Ham United