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West Ham v Swans: The big talking points

Paul Clement’s men have not lost in five fixtures on the road since the start of 2017-18, and they are keen to extend that sequence having struggled on their own patch in the early stages of the new season.

We look at all the key talking points heading into the West Ham game.

 

Ayew to score?

Given that there could be two Ayews on the pitch – and that both have been in the goals already this season – there is a fair chance that the Ayew name could appear on the scoresheet this weekend.

West Ham’s former Swan Andre has not always been in the team in the early weeks of the season, but he has managed two goals. Only striker Javier Hernandez has more for the Hammers.

Little brother Jordan, meanwhile, has made an impressive start to the new campaign, and is the Swans’ joint leading marksman with three goals.

Hammer Horrors

The Swans eased past West Ham in their first meeting at Premier League level back in 2012, when Michu scored on his home debut in a 3-0 victory.

Since then, however, they have won only one of their nine meetings with the East London club.

That was on the penultimate weekend of the 2015-16 campaign, when Andre Ayew was among the Swans’ scorers in a resounding 4-1 win at Upton Park.

Other than that, there have been three draws and five West Ham wins, two of which came last season.

Clement will be desperate to improve that record this weekend.

How will the Swans line up?

Slaven Bilic will be trying to work out what Swans side his team will face this weekend, but that is no easy task.

After all, Clement has regularly changed his formation in the early stages of this season, with numerous systems used already.

Bilic, therefore, will be wondering what shape the Swans will adopt this weekend, not to mention which players will be in it.

What price another shutout?

The Swans have never kept a clean sheet at West Ham in 31 previous visits stretching back almost 100 years.

Can Clement’s side change all that? Remarkably, they have already kept as many clean sheets on the road this season as they managed in the previous two campaigns combined.

Bank another one this weekend and they will become only the fourth side in Premier League history to start a season with four in a row.

The others were Manchester United (1997-98), Leicester (2000-01) and Chelsea (2004-05).

Carroll service

Andy Carroll is yet to score this season, and the Swans will be desperate to ensure that is still the case come Saturday night.

Carroll was on the bench against Spurs last weekend, but came on in the first period after Michail Antonio picked up a groin injury.

It remains to be seen whether the Geordie powerhouse plays from the start against opponents he has enjoyed facing down the years.

If so, stopping Carroll making an impact – and stopping the service to him –  will be high up on the to-do list for Federico Fernandez and Co.

Tammy time?

The battle for opportunities in midfield is the fiercest in Clement’s squad, but there is also a scrap for game-time up front.

Jordan Ayew has made a strong start to the season, while Wilfried Bony was handed a start against Watford last weekend having impressed in the Carabao Cup win over Reading.

That meant Tammy Abraham began on the bench, but he came on at the break against the Hornets and duly helped himself to a third goal of the season.

Clement will face a tricky call when it comes to selecting his frontline at the London Stadium.

 

* Please note, Network Rail will be carrying out improvement work on the railway from Swansea to London – trains will still be running but will be diverted on route.

Fans should plan their journey at GWR.com before travelling.

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