West Ham United host Cardiff City on Tuesday aiming to follow up their impressive weekend victory at Newcastle United.
The Hammers outclassed Newcastle, with goals by Javier Hernandez (2) and Felipe Anderson securing a fully deserved 3-0 win.
It was their biggest Premier League victory against the Magpies at St James’ Park since October 1998 and also their first away clean sheet of the season.
There was a positive vibe around West Ham’s squad at Newcastle, with a bonding session between some of the players and a couple of snooker legends perhaps making the difference.
A quartet of Hammers’ stars teamed up with Steve Davis and John Parrott for an epic game of Crazy Snooker ahead of the game at St James’ Park and the experience clearly helped to lift their spirits.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini will hope the positivity continues against a Cardiff side who have struggled for much of the current campaign.
The Hammers’ boss has a few injury issues to contend with ahead of the game. Defenders Aaron Cresswell and Fabian Balbuena are fitness doubts, while Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko remain on the sidelines.
Jazz Richards has been ruled out for the visitors, while Greg Cunningham, Joe Bennett and Kenneth Zohore are not expected to be rushed into action. However, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing could make his first appearance since late August after overcoming a knee injury.
Cardiff head into the match on the back of an impressive result against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Friday. Neil Warnock’s side recorded just their third victory of the campaign with a 2-1 success to move out of the relegation zone.
West Ham are on a six-match winning streak against the Bluebirds, keeping clean sheets in five of them. They are unbeaten in nine top-flight home meetings, winning six and drawing three.
Cardiff’s only victory in their past 18 competitive fixtures at West Ham came on the opening weekend of the 2011/12 Championship season.
Three points on Tuesday could take West Ham up to 11th in the table dependent on results elsewhere.
With fixtures scheduled against Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), Watford (H), Southampton (A) and Burnley (A) during the rest of December, the Hammers could easily end the year in the top half of the standings.
They will need to guard against complacency against Cardiff, but they look a good bet to record another victory on Tuesday.
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