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Premier League preview: West Ham v Swansea

Swansea City and West Ham United will look to get back to winning ways when they clash in the English Premier League on Saturday.

West Ham went down 3-1 away to London rivals Fulham in their most recent outing on Wednesday, while Swansea were held to a 0-0 draw at Sunderland.

Having trailed to Dimitar Berbatov’s goal at Craven Cottage, West Ham did well to get themselves back in level terms when Kevin Nolan scored early in the second half.

Unfortunately for Sam Allardyce’s team, Hugo Rodallega hit back for Fulham almost immediately.

And although they remained within touching distance for much of the rest of the contest, a Joey O’Brien own-goal in the 90th minute sealed the visitors’ fate.

It was the latest defeat in a sequence of worrying results for the team from east London – West Ham have not recorded a victory from their last six matches in all competitions, and were hammered 5-1 at Arsenal on January 23.

As a consequence, their league position has begun to appear precarious. Allardyce’s team are 13th in the standings, just seven points clear of the drop zone and with just four teams separating them from the bottom three.

Although they dropped points at the Stadium of Light in midweek, Swansea’s situation is far more comfortable.

The Welsh club are unbeaten in seven league matches and occupy eighth on the table, the best-placed club outside the traditional heavyweights dominating the upper reaches of the top flight.

Under the guidance of Michael Laudrup, Swansea got past Chelsea to reach the final of the League Cup, with their only recent disappointment an exit from the third round of the FA Cup at the hands of Arsenal, albeit after a replay.

Both clubs have been relatively quiet in the January transfer window, with the primary focus seemingly retaining talent rather than recruiting it.

West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, while Swansea striker Danny Graham has had a transfer request rejected, with Sunderland reportedly interested.

Allardyce has brought in former Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz on loan, while a move for Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson also appears likely.

In some good news for Laudrup, first-choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm is nearing a return from a knee injury, although it remains to be seen if he will fit to make the trip to Upton Park.

West Ham are without defenders James Collins (hamstring), George McCartney (knee) and Daniel Potts (head injury), while Modibo Maiga is away with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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