A struggling West Ham play host to Premier League high-flyers Huddersfield Town with both teams desperate to pick up three points for their own reasons. But who will be able to come out on top under the lights at the London Stadium?
Now we know that this match means a lot more to one man than most and that man is Slaven Bilic. The Hammers manager is currently under incredible scrutiny for their poor start to the season which sees them sit at the bottom of the table with no points and ten goals conceded after three matches. Previewing the season most would have said that the Hammers would be challenging for Europe with their exciting bunch of new signings but it has been far from that. Poor performances from players like Pablo Zabaleta and Marco Arnautovic who will be watching from the stands after his idiotic elbow against Southampton. The only player to score this season is Javier Hernandez, the 29 year old is the one Bilic is relying on to keep his job in London. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid was known as the steal of the summer after his 15 million pound move from Bayern Leverkusen. This move would see the West Ham faithful have genuine belief that they could recreate the magic of the final season at the Boleyn Ground.
Most believe that if the signing of William Carvalho was completed from Sporting Club De Portugal then the story would have been completely different. The prospect of signing one of the most exciting midfielders in Europe filled the fans with anticipation.
So between all this transfer activity where do, the problems actually lie. Most would blame it on the performances of the players but if you count out Marko Arnautovic the real problem lies with all the simple mistakes all of the squad are making. For example, two key mistakes led to goals in their eventual 3-0 thrashing. Young Talent Declan Rice placed a back pass wrong which a Newcastle attacker latched onto and slotted passed Joe Hart and England’s number 1 was at fault for the final goal. The fact that a man who has saved penalties from players like Ronaldinho didn’t think to stay on his line instead of letting Aleksander Mitrovic round him is completely bizarre. The mistakes were also visible in their thrilling 3-2 defeat to Southampton. After fighting back from 2-0 down with ten men Jose Fonte gave away a penalty in added time to just rub salt into the wounds after Marko Arnautovic’s sending off. In all honesty, these are simple things that Slaven Bilic should be working on as these are mistakes that would not be acceptable at Sunday league level let alone the top flight of English football.
Now let’s look at the Hammers opponents Huddersfield Town. The Terriers have made an incredible start to the season which has earned them many plaudits so far. Undefeated after three matches and no goals conceded is a start that Huddersfield Town could only dream of. A lot of pundits are saying that this match could be the one where Huddersfield are tactically found out, their high pressing fast paced style of play is one that the Premier League has been missing for years and for the Terriers to bring it back has left some with questions.
Huddersfield’s back line could have a field day on Monday as the only attacking threat West Ham have is the before mentioned Javier Hernandez. With a defense consisting of Chris Lowe, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Jorgensen and Tommy Smith most believe that no goals conceded is a miracle. But it is really the support they get from behind them that has kept this impressive record, Jonas Lossl moved on loan from David Wagner’s former side Mainz in the summer and has made a great impression in West Yorkshire. The Dane has pulled off some incredible saves with his feature one being against Newcastle. This defensive group of five are sure going to frustrate the irons front line which could be a key feature to how this clash plays out.
Town’s front row is a combination that could cause havoc to the sloppy West Ham defence. The front three of Rajiv Van La Parra, Steve Mounie and Elias Kachunga can use their fast pace and attacking prowess to completely tear apart the slow experienced back four of the Irons. Supported by star man Aaron Mooy and Phillip Billing this attack could be the one to call time on Slaven Bilic’s time at West Ham.
The central midfield partnership of before mentioned Aaron Mooy and Phillip Billing is the thing holding this successful side together. The Australian is a hero in West Yorkshire after his successful spell on loan from Manchester City and the main aim of the transfer window was to keep him at the John Smiths which they were able to do for a reasonable price of £10 million. Mooy has already made an impression on the Premiership regulars after his controlling performances against Crystal Palace and Southampton and his wonder goal against Newcastle. His Danish counterpart Phillip Billing first got recognition for his class performance against Manchester City in an FA Cup 5th Round Replay. Since Billing has worked his way into the starting 11 he has created an unbreakable combination with Mooy which could seriously limit the game time of players like Kasey Palmer and Danny Williams.
To have two controlling central midfielders behind a fast and youthful front line make Huddersfield a very exciting side.
Slaven Bilic will almost certainly taken out of his own hands and put into that of Huddersfield. The Terriers will bring a dominant high pressing display that will definitely tire out the Hammers.
There is only one way I can see this game going and that is with Slaven Bilic being jobless at the end of the week.
Do you agree with that West Ham fans? Let us know in the comments below!