The Hammers unlikely top-four push is fading fast and another defeat tonight could all but end their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Injuries to Declan Rice and Michail Antonio have coincided with back-to-back defeats and West Ham will tonight be aiming to avoid three on the spin for the first time since Project Restart, and the injured pair may even make a return tonight.
David Moyes – who has lost both times he visited Turf Moor – is keen to make sure a superb season does not tail off and arrest a slide that has included as many defeats in their last eight games than in the previous 23.
Meanwhile, Burnley have not won at home in seven games but are brimming with confidence after thrashing Wolves 4-0 at Molineux, with Chris Wood scoring a remarkable first-half hat-trick.
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In today’s earlier game, West Brom fought back to draw 1-1 with Wolves but are left on the brink of relegation.
The result left second-bottom West Brom 10 points from safety with four games remaining. If results don’t go their way, they could be relegated before facing Arsenal on Saturday.
The Chelsea defeat last weekend saw West Ham drop out of the top four but they remain firmly in the hunt for European football in some form.
Their surprise success this season has been played out in front of no supporters but fans are set to be in attendance for the final match at home to Southampton on May 23 in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown – and Moyes wants something riding on it.
“The last game of my first season was Everton at home, we won and we finished the season well in front of the supporters,” he added. “Last season we drew with Aston Villa, when we had stayed up and were in a good place.
“If we could get the supporters back with European football a possibility, it would be great for the supporters to be back in. I really want them all to be feeling ‘let’s get your injection, let’s get your passport out, because we’ve got Europe for you next year’.
“I can’t do that yet because I don’t know I’m there. But nothing would give me bigger pleasure than to tell the West Ham supporters: ‘Let’s get ready, we’re going around Europe’.”
Moyes on Rice
David Moyes is banking on Declan Rice to plug the leaks in West Ham’s defence and lead their push for Europe.
And when pressed on why West Ham’s previously excellent defensive record has been blemished of late, Moyes had a simple answer.
“Mostly it is not having Declan Rice,” said the Hammers boss. “Is he that important? I think so, yeah. He played in the game where we drew 3-3 against Arsenal so you could take that away, but he is incredibly important.
“We’ve had him back training a little bit. We’re not sure exactly what level he’s at but we’ve got a few days before the game on Monday.
“He’s made good progress, we’re happy and I would say he’s ahead of schedule. So we’ll try to keep pushing him on if we can.”
For Burnley, Sean Dyche has stuck with the same XI that beat Wolves 4-0 last weekend.
Ashley Barnes was again among the substitutes after a thigh problem with Chris Wood and Matej Vydra continuing in attack.
So, Michail Antonio does start! A huge boost for West Ham. Jarrod Bowen is the man to make way. There is no place for Declan Rice, though, but he may not be too far behind.
In total, David Moyes made five changes as Aaron Cresswell, Craig Dawson, Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini also come in.
Fabian Balbuena had to make do with a place on the bench after having the red card he was shown in last week’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea rescinded, while Angelo Ogbonna and Mark Noble dropped out of the squad entirely.
West Ham XI
West Ham XI: Fabianski, Diop, Dawson, Soucek, Coufal, Lanzini, Fornals, Cresswell, Benrahma, Antonio, Lingard
Subs: Balbuena, Alves, Bowen, Fredericks, Johnson, Trott, Randolph, Odubeko, Coventry.
Burnley XI: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Vydra, Wood
Subs: Gudmundsson, Barnes, Peacock-Farrell, Stephens, Rodriguez, Pieters, Norris, Bardsley, Dunne
Team news to come in 10 minutes. Will Declan Rice or Michail Antonio make the matchday squad?
After consecutive defeats, West Ham can ill-afford another slip-up here in the fierce battle for a top-four finish.
Burnley had been in poor form themselves before rousing to thrash woeful Wolves and will fancy their chances of dealing another sizable blow to the Hammers’ Champions League chances on home soil.
We’re backing a low-scoring, hard battle that likely ends all square, doing West Ham no favours in the grand scheme of things.
We’re going for a 1-1 draw.
West Ham team news
Michail Antonio has not been ruled out by West Ham manager David Moyes as he battles back from his latest hamstring injury.
Declan Rice is also on the mend after a knee injury and Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku are not far away either. Craig Dawson returns from suspension and fellow defender Fabian Balbuena is available after his red card against Chelsea was rescinded.
West Ham provisional squad: Fabianski, Coufal, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Noble, Fornals, Lingard, Bowen, Martin, Fredericks, Masuaku, Balbuena, Dawson, Alves, Coventry, Lanzini, Benrahma, Yarmolenko, Antonio, Trott.