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West Ham vs Huddersfield: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

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West Ham

West Ham will be desperately looking to register their first Premier League point of the season on Monday evening when surprise high-flyers Huddersfield take the trip down to the London Stadium.

After a disappointing campaign last time out things haven’t changed much for the Hammers, with three successive defeats putting them bottom of the table and putting Slaven Bilic’s job under fire.

At the other end of the table, David Wagner’s Huddersfield side have shocked the Premier League after their fine start to life in the top division and they’ll look to extend their unbeaten run further.

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It certainly hasn’t been the finest of starts for West Ham this season, conceding ten goals in their opening 270 minutes of Premier League action this season and failing to get a point on the board.

Whilst the 4-0 defeat against Manchester United may have been expected the 3-0 humbling by newly-promoted Newcastle was certainly not, and Bilic is walking a tightrope heading into Monday’s home game.

By contrast, the Terriers have seemingly shocked everyone with the way they’ve approached the Premier League, convincingly beating Crystal Palace before earning another three points against Newcastle.

Their dogged and determined stalemate with Southampton last time out suggested that they’ve prepared well for the top-flight and they won’t want the momentum to stop on Monday evening.

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Slaven Bilic’s side are in the midst of a small injury crisis following the international break, with Manuel Lanzini, Edimilson Fernandes and Andre Ayew all poised to miss out against Huddersfield.

Marko Arnautovic will also be absent as he sits out the final match of his three-game suspension, although there is some good news as hit-man Andy Carroll could be deemed fit in time to feature.

There are no fresh injury worries as far as the visitors are concerned, with boss David Wagner expected to name an unchanged eleven from the side that drew with Southampton a fortnight ago.

Predicted Line-Ups

Match Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Huddersfield

Slaven Bilic will know that Monday night’s clash with top-flight new boys Huddersfield is do-or-die concerning his job as manager of West Ham, and defeat could see him sacked after just four games.

And with that in mind – and considering it’s the Hammers’ first home game of the new season following disruption for the athletics – he’ll no doubt go all out to get his first points on the board.

But it won’t come easy against a stubborn and extremely well-disciplined Huddersfield side, who have defied the expectations of even their most loyal fans with their start to Premier League life.

The potential return of Andy Carroll in the number nine role would be a huge boost for the hosts and, despite Huddersfield’s strong start to the season, West Ham should have enough to edge a win.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Huddersfield Town

Ramadan Sobhi still has everything to prove after joining Huddersfield Town

The youngster made the move to the John Smith’s Stadium last week.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Last week Huddersfield Town confirmed the signing of Egyptian starlet Ramadan Sobhi after agreeing a £5.7 million deal with recently relegated Stoke City.

The 21-year-old is considered to be one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge from African football over the last decade and he is the pin-up boy of Egyptian football alongside Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

However, Huddersfield have certainly not purchased the finished article and Sobhi has ultimately failed to live up to his reputation since arriving in the Premier League two years ago.

He signed for Stoke in the summer of 2016 from leading Egyptian side Al Ahly, then managed by former Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham manager Martin Jol, for a fee that was reportedly set to rise up to £5 million.

Sobhi had made his debut as a 16-year-old and had won two domestic titles, attracting the attention of a number of prominent clubs throughout Europe, and his arrival at the Bet365 Stadium was perceived as being something of a coup.

He was characterised as being a pacey winger who was intelligent, tricky and technically immaculate and it was assumed that his arrival would bring creativity and pace to Mark Hughes’ Stoke team.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

But, despite making 41 Premier League appearances in his two years with The Potters, Sobhi never truly fulfilled his potential or lived up to his reputation.

There were glimpses of his talent and potential, but these moments of brilliance or innovation were often few and far between. He was frustrating to watch and his decision making, particularly in the final third of teh pitch, would leave supporters scratching their heads in confusion.

Sobhi would often beat a defender or create half a yard of space but then be unwilling to release the ball either via a pass, cross or shot. He would attempt to beat the same defender multiple times before delivering the ball into the box and there was a distinct lack of any end product or consistency.

Few would criticise the 21-year-old’s work ethic or attitude, but he is certainly a long way from being the finished article.

It could be argued that this is not entirely the fault of the player. In truth Sobhi was never truly given a run of starts in the first team with the vast majority of his appearances coming from the bench.

Furthermore, two years of playing in a poor Stoke team has visibly eroded his confidence and self-belief whilst Mark Hughes and his coaching staff undoubtedly failed to maximise his potential.

The young Egyptian joined a Stoke team that was in terminal decline – it may simply be the case that he was the right player at the wrong time.

What Sobhi needs now is a manager who will put an arm around his shoulder and who will invest the time to nurture and mould him into fulfilling his potential. The potential is there, it just needs to be allowed to flourish.

David Wagner may well be that man.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The German is widely respected as being one of the most talented young coaches in Europe and is renowned for his approach to man-management and being able to maximise the performances of his players. If Sobhi is to emerge as a genuine star in English football then Wagner will be the man capable of facilitating it.

Ultimately, Sobhi had a limited impact at Stoke and never really demonstrated his talent beyond a handful of infrequent flashes. It is probably the fault of all parties involved that his time at the Bet365 Stadium was not more productive and it would appear that his departure is mutually beneficial.

It is also important to recognise that the winger is still only 21 years of age.

His career is only just beginning and yet he has already made 26 international appearances for Egypt and proven himself in domestic football. There is still plenty of time for him to develop and improve whilst you would imagine that the best is yet to come from the youngster.

However, despite the continued hype, ultimately Sobhi still has everything to prove in English football and Hudderfield supporters will be hoping that their club is the right place for the Egyptian’s talent to flourish.

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Huddersfield Town

Newcastle United toxicity means Rafa Benitez should move to West Ham

The Spaniard is being linked with a move to London.

Max Cohen

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Benitez
Photo: Getty Images

After West Ham United announced David Moyes would be leaving the club this summer, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has been heavily linked with the position by Sky Sports.

Although Benitez has worked wonders at St. James’ Park and enjoys life in the Northeast, he should make the switch to east London to finally enjoy the transfer budget he deserves.

There can be no questioning the Spaniard’s tremendous accomplishments at Newcastle. Benitez was appointed too late to save the club from relegation in 2015/16, yet achieved promotion at the first time of asking in 2016/17.

Even more impressive, the ex-Liverpool boss steered the Magpies to a tenth-placed finish this season.

The team was largely the same squad that won the Championship the previous year, and it is a testament to Benitez’s skills as a manager that he led Newcastle to the top half of the table despite minimal investment.

(Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

In particular, the manager craved a top-class goalscoring striker, yet was never given the funds to pursue a centre-forward that could effectively lead the line for the Magpies.

But it is simply unacceptable that a manager of Benitez’s quality is denied access to substantial transfer funds to strengthen his squad. In December, the Spaniard publicly aired his frustration at the uncertainty surrounding his transfer budget, due to the frugal nature of owner Mike Ashley.

There had been hopes that a takeover would occur at Newcastle, but recent reports claim that the move is off after Ashley increased his valuation of the club.

Unfortunately for Benitez, this seems to signal another offseason of limited funds and missed transfer targets. Ultimately, conditions such as these are unacceptable for a manager who has brought so much success to Newcastle.

A move to the London Stadium would allow Benitez to truly shape his squad with a generous transfer budget, a luxury that the Spaniard must be craving after several barren years under Mike Ashley.

Rafa Benitez would do well to leave behind the toxic reign of Ashley and move to West Ham, where he would be appreciated and rewarded by a supportive ownership.

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English Premier League

David Wagner wouldn’t be a good appointment for Leicester City

Leicester look likely to replace their current manager before the 2018/19 season.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

The upcoming summer will be interesting to follow in England, as the Premier League has chosen to close the transfer window before the season starts.

With that in mind, it is important for clubs to get their business done early and there will be no room for hesitancy in the market.

Leicester City have had a trouble-free campaign, but they have lost four of their last five games and failed to score in their last three.

Claude Puel made an impact after taking over, but he may not be given the chance to lead the club into the 2018/19 season.

Last season, the Frenchman led Southampton to a top-half finish, but he was relieved of his duties due to a concern over the playing style.

A similar fate could be waiting for him once the season ends next weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, the Guardian reported that Puel was fighting to keep his job and the performances since wouldn’t have done him any favours.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

It doesn’t bode well for Puel that potential replacements are being touted in the media. The Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Leicester want David Wagner as their next manager.

The Huddersfield Town manager has done well in English football since taking over at the John Smith’s Stadium. He managed to get them promoted against the odds and is now in a good position to stay up in the top-flight.

Considering his increasing profile in the game, Wagner would be regarded as an exciting appointment by Leicester supporters. If he had been able to get Huddersfield to punch above their weight as a club, he could be the right man to take the Foxes forward and challenge for European football.

However, these reports need to be treated with caution as there are reasons why an appointment would be a bad move by Leicester.

One of the reasons why Puel has been unpopular with both Southampton and Foxes’ fans has been his style of football. It can be laboured at times and the creativity is lacking in the final third. Although his teams are mostly solid, they aren’t going to get you off your feet very often.

His Huddersfield team have scored only 27 Premier League goals, which is the joint-fewest of any club in the division.

Their goal difference is the second-worst after Stoke City. The size of the club has meant that a relegation fight was inevitable, but Wagner has hardly set the league alight with his coaching.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

There has been a lot written about Wagner’s connection with Jurgen Klopp, but his style of play differs from that of his good friend.

The Terriers have averaged 9.4 shots per game, which is the third worst of any team in the division. He likes his teams to play a passing brand of football, but their pass success rate of 74.3% ranks in the bottom six. At times, the Terriers would have benefitted from a more functional style.

This season has been a year of learning for Wagner. If he manages to keep Huddersfield in the top-flight, it will be considered a great campaign for him.

However, it has been clear that he isn’t the finished article yet and there is nothing to suggest that he would be an upgrade on Puel.

Leicester may decide to make a managerial change, but if they do, the current Terriers’ boss isn’t the right appointment for them.

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