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West Ham take on Leeds United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game that has huge implications at the bottom of the Premier League table. Although West Ham secured their own safety from the drop a couple of weeks ago, their opponents on Sunday are very much still in desperate need of points.
After Everton’s last-gasp equaliser against Wolves on Saturday afternoon, Sam Allardyce’s men know that only a win can take them out of the relegation zone and put their destiny in their own hands going into the final round of fixtures next weekend. While a point wouldn’t be a complete disaster, a loss would likely resign them to Championship football next season with Everton hosting Bournemouth at Goodison Park next Sunday.
For West Ham, the final few league games of the season will be played with one eye on the looming Europa Conference League Final in Prague. The Hammers beat AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night to secure passage to the final and no one in the squad is going to want to risk getting injured over the next couple of weeks.
The match is set to kick off at 13:30 UK time and viewers will be able to watch the match on SkySports Main Event and SkySports Premier League.
West Ham Team News: Will Declan Rice play in the final home game of the season?
After a gruelling night in the Netherlands on Thursday, David Moyes will almost certainly make a large number of changes to his starting lineup for this one. While this may upset those at Everton and Leicester, Moyes has a duty to protect his players particularly with the club’s biggest game in decades coming up in a few weeks.
Moyes will likely drop the likes of Said Benrahma, Michail Antonio and Lucas Paqueta to the bench which will mean starting births for Pablo Fornals, Danny Ings and Manuel Lanzini. Fornals can expect a hero’s reception at the London Stadium following his last-minute winner in Alkmaar on Thursday.
West Ham are going to the final!! 🤩
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 18, 2023
One player who completed the 90 minutes on Thursday who will be keen to play again on Sunday will be Declan Rice. The England midfielder is being heavily linked with a move away from the club in the summer, meaning this could be his final opportunity to play at the London Stadium in the famous claret and blue.
In terms of injuries, David Moyes is only missing Gianluca Scamacca. The Italian was ruled out for the season in March with a knee injury.
Leeds United Team News: Captain Cooper returns to training
Unlike his opposite number, Sam Allardyce does have a couple of injury and suspension concerns ahead of the trip to East London. Tyler Adams, Stuart Dallas and Luis Sinisterra remain out and will do so until the start of next season, while Marc Roca is a fresh concern in the middle of the park.
With Roca expected to miss the game against West Ham, Allardyce is somewhat stuck for options in the middle of the park with Tyler Adams also unavailable. Adam Forshaw will likely start alongside McKennie in midfield with centre back, Robin Koch a possibility to take the third spot in Allardyce’s central trio.
Junior Firpo will also miss the game after the fullback was sent off in stoppage time against Newcastle United last time out. Max Wober could be moved to left back to replace Firpo which would mean a starting birth for either Liam Cooper, who has returned to training this week, or Pascal Strujik at the hearts of the Leeds defence.
📸 – RED CARD JUNIOR FIRPO! pic.twitter.com/om8HGeY8hE
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) May 13, 2023
At the other end of the pitch, Patrick Bamford will be in a determined mood to put things right after missing a vital penalty last weekend.
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