Match Preview: West Ham | Brentford FC

Brentford face a familiar foe on Saturday, West Ham United heading across the capital just eight days on from our 2-0 Premier League victory at London Stadium.

The Hammers’ new year’s fixture saw them draw at Leeds United on Wednesday night while the Bees opened 2023 with a 3-1 win over Liverpool. But now Premier League points take a back seat as it’s Emirates FA Cup progress which is the order of the day.

The Opposition

West Ham United

Michael Antonio, West Ham United

West Ham United have finished sixth and seventh in the last two seasons, underlining the sterling work done by David Moyes behind the scenes.

The Hammers even progressed to the Europa League semi-final last term – the first time they had reached the final four of a European competition since finishing as runners-up in the 1975/76 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Moyes and Co had to settle for a place in the Conference League this time around, but the fact they had strengthened in multiple areas suggested fans were in for another exhilarating ride.

Marquee signing Gianluca Scamacca was brought in to take pressure off Michail Antonio up front and Maxwel Cornet looked sure to cause a stir on the opposite flank to Jarrod Bowen.

But West Ham have not been able to carry their previous momentum into this season – so far, at least.

The Hammers are sat 17th in the Premier League table. They were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Championship side Blackburn Rovers before the World Cup break, too. Given their league form, however, that could well be a blessing in disguise.

All is not lost though. In the Conference League, they progressed to the knockout stages by way of six straight wins and a high expected points tally of 24.87 – which would place them in the top 10 of the Premier League – suggests they have simply not been getting the rub of the greens.

Moyes himself does not seem to be particularly concerned about West Ham’s plight this term, either. Speaking after his side returned to domestic action with a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Boxing Day, the Scot told Amazon Prime Sport: “I have been looking upwards. We have good players and ones who can compete right at the top.

“We need to start turning performances into points and there have been other games where we should have taken more from them.”

On the face of it, there do appear to be several teams – with far less well-equipped squads – more likely to be facing a relegation battle than the Hammers, so while they cannot afford to be complacent, they can probably dedicate a reasonable amount of attention to FA Cup progress.

It is, as Jonty Colman tells us in Hot off the Press, likely to be their only viable route back into Europe, after all.

The Gameplan

With football.london journalist Jonty Colman

“It’s an interesting one actually because, at the start of the season, Moyes did allude to the fact he wanted to do better in the domestic cup competitions; last season it was fifth round of the FA Cup and quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

“I think there’s going to be a bit of dilemma in Moyes’ mind because he has said he wants to do well in the cups, but West Ham are already out of the Carabao Cup and, considering their league form, this is one of their best avenues to get into Europe.”

Read the full interview with Jonty Colman here

Team News

Frank: ‘Schade in squad’

Kevin Schade will be involved in a Brentford squad for the first time tomorrow while Kristoffer Ajer is also set for a return.

Ivan Toney (muscle), Shandon Baptiste (groin), Frank Onyeka (hamstring), Pontus Jansson (hamstring) and Aaron Hickey (ankle) will miss out.

West Ham will remain without Maxwel Cornet and Kurt Zouma but David Moyes otherwise has a fully fit squad to choose from.

The Boss

David Moyes

David Moyes, West Ham United

David Moyes’ playing career began with Celtic where he won the Scottish Premier Division in 1982. Spells with Cambridge United, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town, Dunfermline Athletic and Hamilton followed before he joined Preston North End in 1993.

As player, coach and then manager, Moyes spent almost a decade at Deepdale winning promotion from the fourth tier as a player in 1996 and the third tier as a manager in 2000.

In March 2002, the Glasgow-born coach took charge at Everton, a position he would hold for 11 years.

He was twice voted LMA Manager of the Year while at Goodison Park before Manchester United tasked him to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

His tenure at Old Trafford lasted just 10 months before he was sacked with United seventh in the Premier League.

Year-long spells with Real Sociedad and Sunderland followed, before Moyes took over at West Ham in November 2017. He saved the Hammers from relegation but left in May 2018 after not being offered a new contract.

He returned to east London in December 2019 to replace Manuel Pellegrini. He finished seventh in his first full season before going one better last time round, as well as reaching the last four of the Europa League.

LastMeeting

West Ham United 0 Brentford 2 (Premier League, 30 December 2022)

Match Officials

Andre Marriner set to officiate his fifth Brentford game

Andre Mariner, Referee

Referees: Andre Mariner

Assistants: Simon Long and Scott Ledger

Fourth official: Jarred Gillett

VAR: Robert Jones

Assistant VAR: Simon Long

Birmingham FA official Andre Marriner started officiating by chance.

In 1992, he went to a grassroots match as a neutral spectator. When the referee didn’t turn up, he was asked to referee it. At the end they paid him £10 for his services, Marriner caught the bug and passed his course in April 1992.

He was appointed to the Football League list of referees in 2003 and was given his first Premier League appointment on 13 November 2004: a 4-0 home win by Charlton Athletic over Norwich City.

In 2005, Marriner was appointed to the Select Group One of Premier League referees and, three years later, was added to the FIFA list of international referees.

The Solihull-born referee has only taken charge of four previous Brentford games, three of which have come in the last 12 months.

After an FA Cup third-round win over Luton Town in 2005, he was in charge of our EFL Cup defeat to Chelsea and Premier League loss to Manchester United last season, with this season’s outing our dramatic 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest.

West Ham United 22/23

181 fouls – 12th in the Premier League

23 yellow cards – 17th in the Premier League

0 red cards – joint-fewest in the Premier League

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