Bob Bradley is targeting a third successive home victory to ease the pressure on him when West Ham United make the long trip across the M4 to the Liberty Stadium this afternoon. Bradley, the first American to manage in the Premier League, has faced calls to be sacked after failing to inspire a revival at Swansea since succeeding Francesco Guidolin. His opposite number, Slaven Bilic, has had issues of his own this season, with the Hammers struggling to adapt to to their new surroundings after moving to the London Stadium. But there are signs that the Croatian is starting to get the best out of his side.
Swansea supporters must have thought the tide was finally turning in their favour with a 3-0 victory at home to Sunderland, only for that optimism to dissipate with a heavy reversal at Middlesbrough last time out. The reason for Swansea’s travails is fairly evident – they have the worst defensive record in the Premier League – and as a result are firmly ensconced in the bottom three. Similarly, West Ham had been hovering around the relegation zone but an unbeaten run of three matches, featuring crucial victories over Burnley and Hull City, has given Bilic some welcome respite.
Swansea manager Bradley has new injury concerns or suspensions to deal with, although Federico Fernandez and Sung-Yueng Ki are both still doubtful with their respective broken toes. West Ham, on the other hand, have doubts surrounding defenders Sam Byram and James Collins as well as Juventus loanee Simone Zaza, who has reportedly been told he is free to return to his parent club in January. On the suspensions front, Pedro Obiang serves a one-match ban after picking up his fifth booking of the season.
Swansea City starting XI West Ham United starting XI
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Defeat could spell serious trouble for Bradley and leave his position extremely tenuous, with patience already wearing thin in South Wales. Only goal difference is keeping the Swans off the bottom of the table. Although West Ham are looking for their third successive win, something they have yet to achieve this season, their general form has been anything but impressive. All five of their victories have been by a 1-0 scoreline. On paper, this looks a very close match-up and could end in a stalemate, with both teams fairly happy with a point. Draw