By Hughie Southon
Having taken over from Mark Lawrenson as the BBC website prediction expert, Chris Sutton is making a very cautious weekend prediction for the Hammers v Saints game.
Of course things couldn’t be tighter at the bottom and although in a piece for the Daily Fail he is convinced the south coast team will be relegated he doesn’t appear to believe this weekend.
Instead he is opting for a draw at the London Stadium which is hardly the bravest decision in the world from a guy who made his name on the punditry scene by being as outrageous as it gets.
The clue to his thinking comes in the opening sentence where he admits after believing things will come right for the Hammers that simply has happened.
He also believes the London Stadium is really not going to help the players given the nature of this game.
So summing it up he goes for the easy option declaring: “West Ham are in trouble and really need to win this game but I keep thinking things will click for them and it hasn’t happened so far.
The atmosphere is going to be so nervy and that will suit Southampton who, along with Leicester, are one of only two top-flight teams to have picked up more points away than they have done at home this season.
That away form will give Saints some belief and, with James Ward-Prowse in their side, they have such a weapon from free-kicks. They are bottom so they are under pressure but the real pressure on Sunday will be on the Hammers.
David Moyes said the video assistant referee “needed to go to Specsavers” after some important decisions went against his team when these two sides drew 1-1 at St Mary’s Stadium in October – including what he called a “judo move” by a Southampton defender inside their box.
This time it is going to be just as close and even a draw might not be enough to save Moyes.
He definitely needs the big calls to go his way this time, otherwise he could end up on the wrong end of a karate move – and get the chop.
Sutton’s prediction: 1-1
“He definitely needs the big calls to go his way this time, otherwise he could end up on the wrong end of a karate move – and get the chop.”
Nice analogy, Hugh! Love it when you introduce a bit of humour. You and Harry would make a good team!