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West Ham entered the international break in the worst possible manner when they blew a three-goal lead at home to Arsenal to drop two precious points in the race for the top four, but they now have an opportunity to leapfrog Chelsea in fourth place following the Blues’ shock defeat against West Brom.
This is the sort of game that West Ham need to win if they harbour serious ambitions of finishing in the top four, especially with a difficult run of fixtures on the horizon. David Moyes’s side face Chelsea, Leicester, and Everton in their next five games and need to take three points against a Wolves side that has failed to win in their last four games.
Monday 20:15 – Wolves v West Ham
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League
After a run of 10 points from four games in February, Wolves’ season again looks in danger of petering out. It has been by far their worst season since their return to the Premier League in 2018 and they could be pipped by a hungrier West Ham side.
Among the most disappointing aspects of Wolves’ underwhelming season has been their inability to score goals. They have scored just 28 goals in 29 games this year – the fifth-worst record in the division – as only the bottom three and Burnley have scored fewer times than them in the league this year.
They have netted just twice in their last four and have failed to score in 10 of their 29 league games this season – a record of once in every three games. Most recently, they failed to really test a Liverpool defence that has been leaking goals in the Premier League this season as they slipped to an underwhelming defeat.
West Ham, on the other hand, have kept the fifth-highest number of clean sheets in the league this season and boast a respectable defensive record of 35 goals conceded in 29 games. Wolves struggled to break them down in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium and may do so again on Monday night.
Jesse Lingard’s transformation since moving to the London Stadium has been nothing short of remarkable. The Manchester United loanee has now scored five times in seven games for The Hammers after scoring just one league goal in two years at Old Trafford.
Lingard’s goals have been crucial in sustaining West Ham’s assault on the Champions League places and could prove the difference again against Wolves on Monday.
As good as Neves is on the ball, he appears to struggle off it. The Portuguese midfielder has picked up six yellow cards in 24 league starts for Wolves this season – the most of any player at the club – at a rate of one yellow card in every four games that he starts.
Neves has made 34 fouls in 28 league appearances this season and is likely struggle to contain West Ham’s lively attack of Lingard, Jarrod Bowen, and Michail Antonio. Neves represents excellent value at his price to go into the referee’s notebook on Monday considering his poor disciplinary record.
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