The latest round of Premier League action concludes on Tuesday evening when we have one more standalone fixture as two sides chasing European football meet when West Ham United welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the London Stadium.
West Ham go into the night in sixth place in the table but whoever comes out on top in this one will go into the break for the FA Cup in that spot in the standings and nicely poised for the remainder of the campaign.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Premier League channel with the build-up at the London Stadium beginning at 7pm ahead of a 7.30pm kick off for this one.
West Ham United
It has been a very good Christmas period for West Ham currently with wins over Manchester United and Arsenal having them nicely placed in the league table. In fact, it has been a good spell for a while now for the Hammers. They have won six of their last eight matches and are slowly beginning to look a really effective unit despite the odd disappointing result mixed in, although you are going to get that with them in European action and not having the deepest squad.
That squad has lost one of its better players in Mohammed Kudus for the foreseeable future as he has gone to the Africa Cup of Nations but the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Lucas Paqueta remain around and they have been standout players this season. West Ham are generally decent at home where they have only lost two of their nine matches in the Premier League. One of those defeats came to Manchester City which isn’t far off being par for the course.
Brighton and Hove Albion
It hasn’t been a bad festive period for Brighton and Hove Albion either, albeit it has been a prolonged one. It began almost two weeks ago when they got a 1-1 draw away to rivals Crystal Palace before an emphatic and dominant win over Tottenham Hotspur last week. They probably needed those results though because consistency has been lacking a touch for the Seagulls recently. They have won just three of their last 13 Premier League matches.
Two factors have been a reason for that. The first one is they are playing European football for the first time this season and are rightly taking that very seriously. The other issue has been a chronic injury list which continues to be added to. They are also about to lose a couple of players to the two international tournaments on the horizon which is going to make finding a consistent run of results even harder for Roberto de Zerbi and his men.
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West Ham United will definitely be without Mohammed Kudus and Nayef Aguerd for this one as they set off for the Africa Cup of Nations. Lucas Paqueta will be monitored as will Kurt Zouma. It isn’t yet clear whether Algeria have allowed Said Benrahma to play before he departs.
Brighton and Hove Albion have doubts over defender Igor Julio and attacker Facundo Buonanotte who both left the win over Spurs early because of injuries. Previs Estupinan came off the bench in that match and could be ready to start here.
This is one of those matches, like many in the Premier League over the next month, where it is hard to predict how things will play out with West Ham have players departing and Brighton having so many injuries. My gut feeling is that West Ham are a shade too big for this one when you consider that the Seagulls have only won three of their last 13 league games, but I would definitely want to know that Lucas Paqueta is involved before I pull that particular trigger.
It is a different West Ham United player I am going to focus on betting wise in this match and that is Tomas Soucek. He is 13/8 to have a shot on target and Bet365 have boosted him to 16/1 to score a header and given that Brighton have a serious issue defending crosses those two prices are just too big, especially with no Aguerd going up for set plays and with James Ward-Prowse pinging them in. There is no Kudus for West Ham either so Soucek might get more licence to get beyond Bowen into the box. Soucek scored at the Emirates last week and I think he’ll be a huge aerial threat in this one and those prices are just too big for a man who will be a danger on set pieces at the very least.
Back T.Soucek – Over 0.5 shots on target for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Unibet
Back T.Soucek to score a header for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 with Bet365