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Hammer Zouma shows real character

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Captain Zouma

Kurt Zouma has come a very long way since ‘Catgate’ and inheriting the West Ham captain’s armband is a demonstration of the strength of character he has shown as a Hammer.

And tonight – despite the club’s less than very mediocre record against Brighton – he has every chance if improving on his personal record against the Seagulls.

The match will be shown on Sky Sports at 5.30 and while we are yet to record a Premier League victory at the stadium  in six attempts, Zouma  has scored there twice, including one in former club Chelsea’s top-flight victory three seasons back.

Since then, Zouma has joined West Ham and not beaten Brighton in four attempts, while the Seagulls themselves have gone from strength to strength under Italian head coach Roberto De Zerbi.

The No4 will not want to be reminded of the results on his two visits to Brighton in a Claret and Blue shirt, but he and his teammates will travel to the Sussex seaside with rising belief they can end that winless run at the Amex following last weekend’s home win over Chelsea.

He told www.whufc.com: “We know how tough the Premier League is, so we have to take it game by game, but the way we have started in our first two games is very promising for the rest. We have a tough game at the weekend, so we have to prepare well for it.

“It’s going to be a good test for us. Last year we conceded four there and for the past year they have been playing so well. They have been scoring a lot of goals at the start of the season as well, but we have prepared well for this game at the weekend, and we’ll be ready.

“We know we will have to suffer there, but we also have the weapons to hurt them, so hopefully we’re going to have a good game there.”

Zouma has worn the captain’s armband in each of West Ham’s opening two Premier League fixtures and has relished being put into a leadership position by manager David Moyes for two such important matches.

The Chelsea win was preceded by a 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth and Zouma responding to the match against his former club last weekend said: “The atmosphere was unbelievable.

“On derby days at home against a tough team, the fans help us and we got a strong win. It felt very sweet for me, especially after I spent many, many years at Chelsea, and I captained West Ham in this game which was very special for me and my family as well.

“I was so pleased to have captained the team and we managed to win!”

Zouma and Ward-Prowse

He has been pleased to see the arrival of  Edson Álvarez, James Ward-Prowse and Dinos Mavropano declaring:  “It brings new energy seeing new faces and we have to help them learn the shape of the team and the tactics, while the competition for places means training is sharper and becomes even better as well.

“We have added some good players and some good people. We have spent time with them already and you can feel how kind and good they are, so that’s good for the team.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

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