The view of the opposition: West Ham v Swansea
We provide analysis and the best bets as the Hammers take on Paul Clement's goal-shy side at the London Stadium.
Stick or twist?
That is the dilemma facing Paul Clement as he seeks to avoid the sort of relegation danger that saw both of his two most recent predecessors at Swansea City sacked in the space of 85 days.
Clearly, Clement did an excellent job in keeping the Swans – who were bottom of the league when he took over in January – in the top flight.
But his work to tighten up a team that shipped more goals than any side except Hull last season is now in danger of having a detrimental effect.
This time around, Swansea have conceded fewer times than Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton, but at the other end have mustered just three goals in six matches and managed only 10 shots on target – the fewest of any team in the division.
That bodes well for the Hammers, who have already won four of their five home matches against the Swans since their promotion to the Premier League, three of which were achieved to nil.
As a result, Swansea have been torn between the defensive solidity of a 5-3-2 – which earned an impressive point away to Spurs in their last trip to London – and a more adventurous 4-4-2 that saw them get back into, but ultimately lose, their game against Watford last weekend.
The contrast between the two is clearly affecting the players, with captain Federico Fernandez admitting his team are not as comfortable in possession as the Swansea of old.
That much was clear in their defeat to the Hornets, with both goals they conceded coming players from losing the ball on the halfway line after being pressed in possession.
Certainly, Javier Hernandez – who bagged his first home goal against Tottenham last time out – has both the quick thinking and the quick feet to capitalise on such errors.
But it is Andy Carroll, a striker who poses an altogether different sort of threat, who could hold the key.
West Ham’s No. 9 has scored five goals in six appearances for the Hammers against today’s opposition, and looks a good bet to open his account for the season on Saturday.
West Ham and under 3.5 goals –
West Ham to keep a clean sheet –
Carroll to score at any time –