Nottingham Forest make the journey down to east London to take on West Ham this weekend, in a match that will be key in shaping how the foot of the Premier League table will look after this upcoming round of fixtures.
In a busy Saturday schedule, this 3pm kick-off between two sides who are both currently in the bottom-half of the table has added significance for 18th-place West Ham, who are in desperate need of a win.
With many of the sides around them also in action that day, a win against Nottingham Forest would be huge for the Hammers especially if combined with some of their relegation rivals also dropping points, which is a serious possibility. The two teams currently sat behind West Ham in the table, Leeds and Southampton, face each other in what is a crucial clash for both sides’ survival hopes, while Bournemouth, currently ahead of West Ham in the table by one place, face Manchester City, and 16th-place Everton host midtable Aston Villa.
Bournemouth are virtually guaranteed to drop points as will one of Leeds and Southampton, while Everton could also do so. Therefore, a win for the Hammers on Saturday would be vital on a weekend where so many of their rivals look likely to drop points. But they do face a tough test in opponents Nottingham Forest, who are currently sat more securely in the table in 13th position. Galvanised by some astute signings and impressive recent results, Forest will fancy their chances against a poor West Ham side who have struggled for consistency all season.
West Ham are in pretty dire form at the moment having picked up just two Premier League wins since October, with both of those wins coming at home to fellow relegation strugglers Bournemouth and Everton. That kind of form has left the Irons sitting precariously in 18th place in the league on just 20 points, and defeat to Forest and other results going against them could potentially see the Hammers drop to the bottom of the table after this weekend. So a desperate David Moyes will have to galvanise his squad into securing a crucial win this weekend, but in Nottingham Forest, they face a tough test.
Steve Cooper’s men have had a relatively impressive first season back in the top flight since 1999, picking up some impressive results against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City along the way. Their form has them sat in midtable in 13th place, and it does look like they have done just enough under Cooper’s leadership to have secured their Premier League status for this season, although they do still sit five points above the drop zone.
However, impressive recent results that include a win against relegation-threatened Leeds and a draw with title-chasing Manchester City has provided the Reds with much-needed momentum, which they will need going into this weekend’s clash with West Ham and next weekend’s meeting with Everton. Picking up results in those two games would be so vital in securing Forest’s survival, and with the momentum they already have from their draw with Man City, they will fancy themselves to take points away from West Ham.
We are predicting Steve Cooper’s side to emerge victorious from this clash, and therefore heap further pressure on David Moyes. A combination of smart January signings who have already made a tangible impact (in Keylor Navas, Felipe and Chris Wood), and their better form coming into this match in comparison to West Ham bodes well for Nottingham Forest.
Forest also emerged victorious in the earlier meeting this season between these two sides, with Taiwo Awoniyi’s solitary goal enough for the three points. And so we expect Forest to leave the London Stadium with three points this weekend, with Cooper’s men priced at 4/1 odds to come away with a win. In contrast, the home side are priced at 8/11 odds to pick up a win.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our previews, tips and offers for this weekend’s action. Footy Accumulators is the #1 football betting site for the latest on betting in the UK - download the Betting Hub app for more!