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Premier League football is set to resume this weekend following a couple of weeks’ absence due to the international break and the Saturday afternoon clash at London Stadium will be a massive battle for both West Ham United and Southampton as they look to retain their top-flight status. The Hammers are currently two points clear of the drop zone but are going through a turmoil following a series of dismal outcomes which caused massive outrage among the fans in recent weeks.
The Saints, on the other hand, are deep down the league standings but are looking to revive their campaign under newly appointed boss Mark Hughes who helped the Saints to earn a place in the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup by defeating Wigan Athletic in his first game in charge.
A win over the Hammers will take them out of the drop zone for the time being and the game is of massive significance for both the strugglers.
Hughes fielded the Saints in a 4-4-2 setup and might retain the same against the Hammers as he will be desperate to win this fixture and collect enough points from the remaining ones to script a relegation escape for his new employers.
Alex McCarthy (GK)
The Englishman was second fiddle to his compatriot Fraser Forster earlier this season but the latter lost his place midway through the campaign and McCarthy has now become the Saints No.1.
Cedric Soares (RB)
The Portuguese full-back has not been at his best this season considering his attacking contribution in previous seasons. However, he will concentrate on regaining his lost form on Saturday afternoon.
Jack Stephens (CB)
The youngster has registered himself as the first-choice central defensive option over Maya Yoshida and should start here against West Ham.
Wesley Hoedt (CB)
The Dutchman has replaced Virgil van Dijk in central defence following his departure to Liverpool. Hoedt now needs to step up and deliver his best to help his team keep hold of its top-flight status.
Ryan Bertrand (LB)
The former Chelsea full-back was withdrawn from international duties due to a back strain but might get to start if he passes a late fitness test. He is a threat going forward.
Dusan Tadic ( RM)
Tadic has been used in various attacking roles due to his versatility and flexibility high up the pitch. However, he has been another underperformer for the Saints this season and would be determined to perform well here.
Oriol Romeu (RCM)
Romeu, another Chelsea reject, has redefined himself since joining the Saints and has impressed with his physicality and combative approach in central midfield.
Mario Lemina (LCM)
Struggled initially to settle down in English football but the former Juventus midfielder is now showing his composure and ability to control the game from the middle.
Sofiane Boufal (LM)
Boufal, despite being enormously talented, has not been able to live up to the expectations yet. The winger will be hoping to contribute more to Southampton’s fight for top-flight existence.
Guido Carrillo (RS)
The winter recruit from AS Monaco hasn’t found the back of the net yet but would be raring to break the deadlock if given an opportunity against the Hammers on Saturday afternoon.
Manolo Gabbiadini (LS)
The Italian had a blistering start to his Southampton career after completing a permanent switch from Napoli last winter. However, he has lost his way completely and is still trying to find out the lost rhythm.