West Ham United are looking to keep pace in their quest for Champions League football as they take on managerless Burnley on Sunday.
West Ham United can look back at a good week of football as they made it into the Europa League semi-finals. David Moyes’ side ran out comfortable winners in their quarter-final second leg against Lyon in France and swept the Ligue 1 giants aside.
It has been a great story for West Ham, who battled to avoid relegation in 2019/20 and are now on the cusp of a European final, which is a reflection of the work done by Moyes at the club. The Hammers will now switch their focus to the Premier League, where they still have a chance to finish in the top four.
The battle for the coveted fourth spot is still an open race, with Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal ahead of West Ham in the race. Having played more games than their rivals, the Hammers are being considered outsiders. But they do remain one of the favourites for a Europa League spot.
Their opposition, Burnley come into this clash, surrounded by uncertainty after the club surprised everyone and sacked long-time manager Sean Dyche. The ex-Clarets boss has seen the best of relegation battles in his ten years at the club and the decision has not gone well with the fans.
The decision to sack Dyche was made after Burnley lost five of their last six games, leaving them in the 18th spot. They remain four points off safety, with Everton sitting in 17th with 28 points. It is not to say the club do not stand a chance to avoid relegation, but the task looks harder with every passing week.
A clash against an in-form West Ham United will not be welcome at this moment, although Burnley hold the ability to spring a surprise. U-23 boss Mike Jackson and club captain Ben Mee are expected to take charge of the team.
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David Moyes will have to contend without Kurt Zouma again as the defender remains out with his latest injury. Angelo Ogbonna is the only other player missing from action, with the Italian not expected to play again this season.
West Ham will have Aaron Cresswell back in the lineup after the left-back missed the midweek trip to Lyon through suspension. Moyes could start Ryan Fredericks at right-back as Vladimir Coufal has only just returned from injury.
Said Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic are pushing for starts, and Moyes could oblige if the manager feels the need for fresh legs. Despite the midweek win, the Hammers boss will likely go with his strongest team against Burnley. It could lead to a start for Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio alongside the Algerian attacker.
Issa Diop and Craig Dawson are expected to form the central defensive partnership. Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek will play in central midfield, with options from the bench in those two areas pretty thin.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio
Captain Ben Mee will take charge of the team alongside U-23 boss Mike Jackson. The centre-back is doubtful to play as he continues to nurse a knee problem. He will be on the touchline for this encounter, which could be a strange role for him.
Johann Gudmundsson and Erik Pieters are also possible absentees. However, Dwight McNeil and Connor Roberts could be vying for starts in the team. The former could take the wide left role in the lineup, with Aaron Lennon set to continue on the opposite flank.
James Tarkowski and James Collins are set to form the central defensive partnership, while Charlie Taylor and Connor Roberts are likely to be playing as the full-backs for this clash. Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood remain firm choices for central midfield.
January arrival Wout Weghorst and Maxwell Cornet should be the players tasked with leading the line, with Jay Rodriguez remaining an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Roberts, Collins, Tarkowski, Taylor; Lennon, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Weghorst, Cornet
- Burnley have conceded at least two goals in their last six Premier League matches.
- Burnley have failed to score in five of their last six Premier League matches.
- Burnley have lost five of their last six Premier League matches.
- West Ham United have won their last three home matches in the Premier League.
- West Ham have won their last three home matches with a one-goal margin.
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Jarrod Bowen so far this season in all comps:
• 15 Goals
• 9 Assists
24 goal contributions. He’s off to Qatar… 🏴⚒️ pic.twitter.com/HNVY3X0n0W
— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) April 15, 2022
West Ham have been a different side since Bowen returned from a brief spell out with an injury. The attacker adds a new dimension to their attack and certainly offers something more than any other player in the squad. He once more proved crucial and popped up with a goal in midweek against Lyon.
The winger is expected to continue playing a key role between now and the end of the season for West Ham United. He remains pivotal to their chances of breaking down teams like Burnley. A strong end to the season could put him firm contention for the England squad for the FIFA World Cup.
West Ham 2-0 Burnley
West Ham United are in top form after a period a few weeks ago where nothing seemed to work for them. However, David Moyes has rallied them back into form, and they are now performing as they did earlier in the season. They now face a hapless Burnley side, who are expected to drop further points and lose ground in the relegation battle.
The Hammers are still in with a shot at a top-four finish, and a victory at the London Stadium will be good for their hopes. Expect West Ham to collect three points with the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals likely to overwhelm Ben Mee in his first stint at football management.