High flying pair West Ham take on Swansea at Upton Park as 5th meets 8th in a surprise pre-christmas European chasing showdown later today.
Both sides have made impressive starts to the season claiming 7 and 6 wins respectively from their opening 14 games. The Hammers in particular have surprised many and currently sit just one point behind fourth place Manchester United.
While both sides have played attractive football this season they would not be considered rivals, that said the game received a much needed injection of bite following Sam Allardyce’s revelation that he turned down the chance to sign Wilfried Bony and brought in Andy Carroll instead.
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The Hammers boss revealed that he was scouting Bony during his prolific run of form with Vitesse Arnhem in 2013 but a move never materialised after he was able to secure Carroll’s signature from Liverpool on a permanent basis.
West Ham’s loss has been Swansea’s gain with Bony scoring a very credible 22 league goals in first 18 months in English football.
The forward, whom Garry Monk revealed that the Swans wanted the Ivory Coast more than their London rivals, will once again be the main man up front for the Welsh side with Jefferson Montero and Nathan Dyer in support.
That means that Wayen Routledge and Batefemi Gomis will be on the bench with another forward Modou Barrow also set to watch from the sidelines.
Neil Taylor will sit the game out after picking up a fifth booking of the season against QPR midweek with Dwight Tiendalli or Jazz Richards likely to deputise.
Angel Rangel is set to be restored on the right side of defence while Leon Britton could drop to the bench as he eased back to action following a long spell out. Argentina defender Federico Fernandez is still not fit enough to feature.
West Ham meanwhile could have both Diafra Sakho (back) and Alex Song (knee) available however Mark Noble (calf) still not ready to return.