By 90Min
October 04, 2018

Chris Hughton's Brighton welcome a resurgent West Ham to the Amex on Friday night. The Seagulls will be eager to return to winning ways after successive defeats to Tottenham and  Manchester City left them just three points above the relegation zone.

West Ham, in contrast, travel to the south coast in great form after dissecting Manchester United's porous defence at Old Trafford and thrashing League Two side Macclesfield Town 8-0 in the League Cup.

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After a dismal start to the campaign that saw the Hammers lose their opening four games, Manuel Pellegrini's side have taken seven points from tricky fixtures against Everton, Chelsea and United.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Friday night's Premier League clash.


Classic Encounter


West Ham 6-0 Brighton (Championship 14/04/2012)


West Ham welcomed fellow promotion hopefuls Brighton to Upton Park in a crucial fixture for the Hammers with pressure mounting on then manager Sam Allardyce after a series of disappointing home performances.

The Hammers started aggressively, hitting the crossbar in the first minute through Henri Lansbury before Portuguese forward Ricardo Vaz Te hit a swerving effort from 25 yards past Brighton keeper Peter Brezovan.


Vaz Te then headed in at the back post from a deep Guy Demel cross to double West Ham's lead. Midfielder Kevin Nolan then notched his 12th of the season after James Tomkins kept play alive heading back across goal.

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The Seagulls withstood more West Ham pressure before forming an attack of their own resulting in an excellent save from Rob Green, clawing Gordon Greer's header away from goal.

After the interval normal service resumed for the Hammers, with Vaz Te completing his hat trick with an acrobatic finish. Adding further insult to injury, Carlton Cole's shot deflected past the hapless Brezovan before Gary Dicker converted past his own keeper from Mark Noble's corner to complete the rout.


Key Battle


Shane Duffy vs Marko Arnautovic


Arnautovic has settled into life at the London Stadium after a slow start with four goals already this term. The enigmatic Austrian had previously failed to live up to his potential after failed spells at Inter, where he made only three appearances, and Werder Bremen. 

Under Manuel Pellegrini this season the 29-year-old has been given license to lead the line and has done so to great effect, utilising his physicality to bring new signings Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson.

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Shane Duffy will be disappointed in failing to keep a clean sheet so far this term and will face a tough task doing so against the invigorated Hammers frontline. 

The combative Irishman will need to be at his assertive best to keep the Hammers quiet, though will no doubt enjoy the challenge of a physical battle with Arnautovic.


Team News


Chris Hughton is boosted by the timely return to fitness of Dale Stephens. The midfielder missed Brighton's previous fixture with Manchester City after coming off injured against Tottenham the week before. 

Friday's game comes too soon though for influential playmaker Pascal Gross, who continues his recovery from an ankle injury that has seen him sidelined since early September.

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Carlos Sanchez faces a lengthy spell on the treatment table for the Hammers after suffering a knee injury against Macclesfield. 

West Ham's significant summer spending has alleviated a would be injury crisis with long-term absentees Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll not expected back until December at the earliest.


Potential Lineups

Brighton (4-1-4-1): Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Stephens; Knockaert, Bissouma, Propper, March; Murray.


West Ham (4-1-4-1): Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice; Yarmolenko, Noble, Obiang, Anderson; Arnautovic.


Prediction


With impressive performances against United and Chelsea in recent weeks, the visitors arrive on the south coast in fine form.

Marko Arnautovic put in his best performance of the season against Mourinho's side, while  Felipe Anderson is beginning to show glimpses of his undoubted ability that saw the Hammers part with nearly £40m to secure his services from Lazio over the summer.

IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

Chris Hughton's side have had a tricky run of late and will want to secure only their second win of the season on Friday. 

Despite the Hammers' recent results, their poor start to the season that saw them concede ten goals in their opening four fixtures shows that they are vulnerable, a source of hope for the Seagulls.


Prediction: Brighton 1-2  West Ham

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