West Ham United-Huddersfield Town Preview
A pair of sides looking to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three of the Premier League clash Saturday at John Smith's Stadium, where Huddersfield Town host West Ham United.
Both the Terriers (6-6-10) and Hammers (5-7-10) are above the drop, with Huddersfield entering this contest 11th on 24 points and West Ham 15th on 22 as the London side trail Newcastle United and Crystal Palace on goal difference.
In their bid to stay up after being promoted for this season, Huddersfield Town have reportedly reached an agreement on an £11 million transfer for Norwich City midfielder Alex Pritchard. The former England Under-21 player, who had eight goals and 11 assists in 43 matches with the Canaries after joining them from Tottenham Hotspur in 2016, could be available for this match.
Huddersfield snapped a four-match winless streak (0-3-1) in all competitions with a 2-1 victory at Championship side Bolton Wanderers on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup. Rajiv Van la Parra and Danny Williams scored in consecutive minutes early in the second half, and the Terriers saw out the win in tense fashion after Derik pulled one back for the hosts.
"This was a very solid, focused and concentrated performance," manager David Wagner told HTTV. "This looked professional and everyone knows how difficult it can be in the cup if you're not on it; but the players were on it and I really liked what I've seen in front of another amazing away support."
The challenge for Wagner and Huddersfield is to spark an offence that has scored just 18 goals in league play and is currently enduring a 260-minute scoreless drought since Tom Ince scored in their 1-1 draw versus Stoke City on Boxing Day.
Town have claimed 16 of their 24 points at home, going 4-4-3 while recording five clean sheets. They have drawn in their last two contests at John Smith's Stadium.
David Moyes has gotten West Ham out of the drop for the time being as the former Everton and Manchester United gaffer has claimed 13 points in his 11 league matches in charge at West Ham after Slaven Bilic got only eight in his 11 before being shown the door.
Unlike Huddersfield, West Ham still have some work to do to advance in the FA Cup as they were forced into a replay following a scoreless draw at League One side Shrewsbury Town on Sunday. Goalkeeper Joe Hart, dropped behind Adrian in the pecking order for league play, kept his hometown team off the scoresheet as the sides will meet again at London Stadium on Jan. 16.
"They've got a lot of energy, are very hard to break down and don't concede," Hart said of Shrewsbury Town. "The replay is going to be a different game, though. Hopefully we'll have a few more players fit, as we were missing a lot of players.
"It's something for the Shrewsbury boys to look forward to, coming down from here, and we've got to be ready for it. The best homework we can do is watch the original tie and see in all areas how we can improve."
West Ham could be a player in the January window, with Moyes reportedly keen on bringing Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen on board. In his column for the Evening Standard, Moyes noted: "I always look to the long term but such is our position this season that we have to look short term. We need players to come and help us now."
Though West Ham recalled 19-year-old Reece Oxford from his loan to German side Borussia Monchengladbach, the defender did not feature over the weekend due to an ankle injury, and his status for this game is uncertain. The two sides are reportedly negotiating to make the loan permanent, with West Ham expecting around £15 million.
The Hammers won the reverse fixture 2-0 at home Sept. 11, with Andrew Ayew setting up Pedro Obiang's goal on 72 minutes to break the deadlock before scoring five minutes later to seal the victory.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last three road matches (1-2-0) in league play, scoring seven goals after being held to six while going 0-3-6 in their first nine contests outside London Stadium.
Updated January 11, 2018