COMMENT By Will Butcher
West Ham travel to the KCOM Stadium to face relegation candidates Hull on Saturday as they look to stop a run of three consecutive defeats.
Here, Football Insider states the three things we expect from Slaven Bilic’s side during the Premier League encounter.
Noble to thrive as Huddlestone suspended
Noble, 29, will be give the time and space to express himself on Saturday as Marco Silva’s side are without England international Tom Huddlestone, who serves the first game of a three-match suspension. With Ryan Mason also recovering from a head injury sustained back in January against Chelsea, Hull will be down to the bare bones in the middle of the park. That will allow captain Noble, who has returned from a muscle injury, to star he looks to connect the midfield and the attack. His impressive array of passing is likely to cause problems for a threadbare Hull midfield, and could prove crucial in helping the Hammers secure three points.
Aggressive aerial duels
With Hull likely to start Andrea Ranocchia, Harry Maguire and Curtis Davies, target man Andy Carroll will to face a physcial battle in the air against the trio. Bilic’s side are likely to toss the ball into the box on multiple occasions during the clash in Yorkshire, with the likes of Andre Ayew and Manuel Lanzini sniffing around for any loose balls. If the former Liverpool and Newcastle striker can win a header against any of the trio, then the Hammers will find success in the Hull penalty area.
Fonte and Collins to be outpaced by in-form Niasse
Oumar Niasse has reignited his stuttering career with Silva’s side, after joining on loan from Everton in January. Scoring four goals in his last eight outings, including a brace against Swansea during a 2-1 win, the Senegalese ace possesses bags of pace that would cause even the quickest of defenders to be outpaced. However, with Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna sidelined through injury, 33-year-old duo James Collins and Jose Fonte are set to start at the back. With both well into their thirties, pace is beginning to decline and Niasse could profit from that in front of the home crowd.