West Ham United just need to avoid defeat against Southampton on the Premier League’s final day to confirm qualification for next season’s Europa League.
It’s been a fantastic campaign for the Hammers who have massively exceeded expectations this term with a likely European finish.
It took West Ham until the penultimate game of last season to secure their top flight status for another term, so there is no questioning the fact they have been the Premier League’s surprise package in 2020/21.
Champions League football was a real possibility until just a couple of weeks ago – but although that ship has sadly sailed, they can still enjoy Europa League action next season if they win or draw at home to Southampton on Sunday.
The visiting Saints have nothing to play for, although some of Southampton persuasion may feel frustrated at the fluctuating nature of their campaign.
The South Coast side had plummeted to 17th place as recently as last weekend having once been top of the table in October to encapsulate what has been an up-and-down season at St Mary’s.
Throw in to the mix the highs of an away win at Liverpool which reduced manager Ralph Hasenhuttl to tears and the 9-0 annihilation they suffered at the hands of Manchester United, their current 14th placed position seems about right.
However, there is often a school of thought that suggests sides with nothing to play for can be deceptively dangerous due to the lack of pressure – something West Ham United will no doubt be aware of.
David Moyes is likely to stick with the same side that beat West Brom last time out, with Darren Randolph once again set to deputise for the injured Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks.
Declan Rice missed an early penalty against the Baggies midweek – question marks remain over the Englishman’s future at the club and whether the game with Southampton will be his last in West Ham United colours.
Injuries are of greater concern to Ralph Hasenhuttl, with the Southampton boss expected to start striker Danny Ings in place of Che Adams who has a knock.
Ings is another player whose future is in doubt with speculation rife throughout the Premier League campaign as to his next destination.
Ryan Bertrand has played his last game for Saints as he misses out with injury and leaves in the summer, whilst Oriol Romeu too is unfit to play.
West Ham United v Southampton kicks off at 4pm on Sunday 23rd May.