West Ham United-Sheffield United Preview
Whilst David Moyes doesn't completely have West Ham United out of the woods in the Premier League, they at least have something positive to build on.
The Hammers aim to win back-to-back league contests for the first time since late August come Friday night, when they look to hand host Sheffield United a third consecutive top-flight defeat.
The beginning of Moyes' second stint as West Ham manager could not have gone better. A 4-0 home victory over Bournemouth on New Year's Day was a massively important result for the struggling Hammers (6-4-10), who were toying with relegation and had just two league victories over their previous 13 matches.
Mark Noble recorded a brace, whilst Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson also scored as West Ham matched a season high for goals and equaled their combined total from the previous five contests. The Hammers also earned a third-round FA Cup win over Gillingham on Sunday.
"It's 2020, and we have two wins ... We'll keep looking forward," midfielder Robert Snodgrass, who assisted on Noble's first goal in the 17th minute versus Bournemouth, told West Ham's official website.
"First and foremost, the given is that fans want to see blood, sweat and tears for the badge. And, that's what every manager wants everywhere. Then the little bits of quality come into it like they did against Bournemouth - when we scored four goals and could have scored five or six."
That's a rather refreshing attitude for West Ham, who sit 16th in the Premier League table but only two points above the drop zone. The Hammers last won two straight within the league Aug. 24 and 31.
They played newcomers Sheffield United (7-8-6) to a 1-1 home draw on Oct. 26. Snodgrass scored in the 44th minute, but United equalised in the 69th through Lys Mousset to eventually share the spoils.
The Blades have been the darlings of the Premier League this term and currently sit eighth in the table, but perhaps they are hitting a rut of fatigue that can spell promoted sides as the season wears on.
Sheffield are 0-1-2 in the top-flight following a three-game winning streak. They've also been blanked in losing their last two - both by 2-0 scorelines at Manchester City and Liverpool.
Still, Snodgrass knows that the Blades, especially at home where they are amidst a 3-2-1 stretch, have the potential to present a difficult challenge for a West Ham side that's 3-3-4 away from London Stadium.
"(Sheffield United) are a very good side," Snodgrass said. "It's another test where we must match them for work-rate, desire and application because, listen, they don't leave anything out there. They give everything."
Mousset has a team-leading five Premier League goals for the Blades, but none in his last seven matches. Haller, meanwhile, leads West Ham with six goals, half of which have come on the road.
The Hammers have not faced Sheffield United at Bramall Lane in any competition since losing 3-0 on April 14, 2007, whilst also Premier League members.
Updated January 8, 2020