West Ham United will look to return to winning ways in the Premier League tonight when they host Brighton and Hove Albion at the London Stadium.
West Ham have proven to be an unexpected force in the top flight this season and currently sit 4th in the table after 13 games ahead of their game against Brighton.
However, they have been beaten in their last two Premier League matches, suffering slim defeats to in-form Wolves and title contenders Manchester City.
Those losses haven’t damaged their unlikely Champions League aspirations too much though as a 3-point cushion remains between David Moyes’ side and Wolves in 6th position.
It may seem unusual to see West Ham in the top 4, but it was even stranger to see Graham Potter’s Brighton and Hove Albion in the European spots in the early running of the season.
A recent run of 5 games without a win has seen that momentum stall, but the Seagulls still occupy the top half of the table ahead of the trip to East London.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Albion fans are delighted with their team’s start to the campaign, especially considering Brighton have flirted with relegation ever since their promotion to the top flight in 2017.
But after a 0-0 draw with Leeds United last time out, a section of the Seagulls’ support audibly booed their side after the full-time whistle.
It was a moment which confused Brighton boss Potter, who respected the fans’ right to express their opinion, albeit one he sternly disagreed with.
It lead to a frosty post-match interview with the Albion gaffer, who with tongue-in-cheek conceded he may “need a history lesson” about the club.
For context, before their current stint in the Premier League, Brighton last played top flight football in the mid-1980s which was the first time in their history.
Although annoying for Potter, it should be caveated that only a minority of Seagulls supporters voiced their displeasure after the Leeds result.
Brighton now face a difficult test at West Ham on Wednesday night, a team they have never lost to since they became a Premier League team 4 and a half years ago.
In fact, the last 5 Premier League meetings between the two sides have ended honours even, with October 2018 the last time this fixture ended in anything other than a score draw.
Draws are seemingly in-vogue for Brighton right now, having tied 6 of their last 8 league matches, losing the other two to Manchester City and Aston Villa respectively.
3 of those aforementioned 6 stalemates have finished goalless and any hope of avoiding that scoreline tonight is dented slightly for Brighton in the absence of injured striker Danny Welbeck.
Steven Alzate also remains sidelined for the Seagulls, whilst West Ham are without Angelo Ogbonna with a knee injury which will require surgery.
Michail Antonio is fit and available for the Hammers but Aaron Cresswell is a doubt and will be put through a late fitness test before the game.
West Ham v Brighton kicks off at 1930 on Wednesday 1st December.