West Ham v Southampton: Combined XI

West Ham take on Southampton in their Premier League clash this Sunday, so here’s this week’s combined XI. As it is the most common formation, we’re going to take 4-2-3-1 and pick the players that work best there.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 10: Fraser Forster of Southampton during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on September 10, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Keeper – Fraser Forster

The Southampton stopper is a class above what West Ham have to offer in my opinion, and should be England’s Number One keeper given Hart’s decline in form and fall from Manchester City.

He is tall and strong, with great shot stopping ability. What I’ve noted from watching him play is that he is hard to bully, even against top strikers. If he’s going to try and come and claim a cross or a long ball he’s not going to be put off by a physical striker.

Whilst you may argue Adrian is a better shot stopper, he’s nowhere near as consistent. The Spaniard has too many mistakes in him to win this head to head. Randolph is not at this level, but could progress if given Premier League opportunities.

Either way, it’s 1-0 to Southampton.

Full Backs

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Cedric Soares of Southampton in action during the Premier League match between Southampton and Swansea City at St Mary’s Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Left Back – Ryan Bertrand

Had Cresswell not been injured then this is a different story. As it is the Englishman takes the spot above Masuaku who is yet to prove his Premier League credentials.

He’s come on leaps and bounds since leaving Chelsea and has been pushing Rose in the England setup. He’s definitely Southampton’s top left back and he will continue to improve in the coming years.

Should he be keeping Cresswell out of the England setup? No. He’s less able defensively despite his pace and I think the Hammers’ man adds something special with the cross he can deliver with his left foot from free kicks and from open play.

Right Back – Cedric Soares

He’s a solid right back, but here he’s more in because a lack of a better option.

Byram will be a good right back when he gets regular game-time alongside a solid defensive partnership, but right now he is too inexperienced with a little bit too much aggression in his game to take this head-to-head.

Arbeloa has only played one cup game so far for West Ham, so it’s hard to include him in this. If he starts playing to the best of his ability he could prove to be a great signing, and come the reverse fixture this could be his spot.

3 Positions Down. All Saints.

Centre Backs

STRATFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United in action with Accrington Stanley’s Billy Kee during the match between West Ham United and Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup Third Round at London Stadium on September 21, 2016 in Stratford, England. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Right – Virgil Van Dijk

I think you could take either Van Dijk or Fonte in this position, but I’ve gone for the Dutchman’s physicality. I feel he has bolstered the backline after the departure of Lovren, and is probably an upgrade.

He can stand up to most of the physical demands of the Premier League easily, and is an able passer. It is the weaker part of his game and sometimes he can be caught out of position due to poor acceleration, but with a speedy, and thinking, partner he is a great asset to any side.

Left – Angelo Ogbanna

Ogbonna is the best centreback at West Ham, and at either club. I think he is a mature example of what calm on the ball can mean and he is quick enough to get round his mistakes if he makes them.

The fact he is left footed puts him at great advantage as well, because he opens up so much play that way. His control of the ball is exceptional for a centre back and he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet. For some reason he has been on the bench recently, but I hope that’s over soon.

Collins wishes he played as well as Ogbonna.

Holding Midfield

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 17: Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United at The Hawthorns on September 17, 2016 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images,)

Chiek Kouyate

He is a prime example of what a box to box midfielder should be. Physical, good passing range,good in the tackle and a goal threat when forward.

The only issue he can have is his tendency to forget the defensive side of his duties, although that should be covered by the other half of the holding midfield team. So far this season though, Noble has begun wandering slightly.

There aren’t many players I’d pick above Kouyate in this role, and he wins this one for West Ham.

Oriel Romeu

Picked as someone to partner Kouyate, I think he adds to the physicality in this spot. Not necessarily Southampton’s best midfielder, I like his work ethic from what I have seen of him.

If the Hammers were playing Obiang more regularly I think he’d be here, but I can’t pick someone who isn’t playing and Noble certainly isn’t playing well enough at the moment to warrant putting in this position out of both elevens.

This, I think, is my most debatable pick. There are many players you could put here that would still do the job. As it is, one each from the holding midfielders, but it’s 5-2 to Southampton overall.

Attacking Midfield

STRATFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: Dimitri Payet of West Ham United scores during the match between West Ham United and Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup Third Round at London Stadium on September 21, 2016 in Stratford, England. (Photo by James Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Right – Antonio

There’s not a more in form winger in the league right now, apart from maybe Sterling.

He’s a top goalscorer and has a wonderful work ethic, giving everything for the team. He will run all the hard yards and more for his team and his physicality is something else. If he’s running at the ball for a header then he can be just as hard to mark as Carroll because of the heigh he gets on the jump and the speed at which he can get there.

Imagine when they’re both playing in the same team again? Headers everywhere you look!

Centre – Tadic

I love Tadic. He is one of the players I wish I could have from other teams at all points. I think he isa class playmaker and a truly cultured player. So he gets the nod just above Lanzini in this spot.

Lanzini may be slightly quicker on the ball than Tadic is, but Tadic’s range of passing and the ability to bring people into the game would be second only to Payet’s. Having two of these players in the squad would be a nightmare for other teams.

His freekick ability would also be a nice foil to Payet. With one person lining up to take it left footed and one right footed which was can you defend? A really good Premier League player and deserving of being in this XI.

Left – Dimitri Payet

Simple. How could you leave him out. There aren’t many better players in the Premier League, let alone in these two squads.

His freekicks are arguably the best in Europe. His passing skills are up there with Ozil’s. His invention is second to none in the Premier League (just look at that rabona assist if you don’t believe me) and you only have to look at clips from Arsenal last year when he knocked it past Koscielny and muscled past him to see he’s no slouch either.

With most combined XI’s containing West Ham players this is where you can start. Leaving him out of any squad in this league would be a mistake in my eyes.

Striker

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: Charlie Austin of Southampton celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the EFL Cup Third Round match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary’s Stadium on September 21, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Charlie Austin

He’s starting to find his form again, but he’s here more because others are not playing well than anything else.

I was gutted when we didn’t go for him last season, but I can understand why. We had no reliably fit striker, and adding Austin to that mix would have been dangerous given his record, despite his goalscoring ability.

Zaza has the potential to do well in the league but hasn’t shown much so far, and if I had to pick out of Austin and Long as my striker Austin gets the nod at the moment as a bit more of an all rounder. Long is a proven Premier League player though.

So how about that for a combined XI? Southampton take it 7-4, but there were a few that I was undecided on. Who would have made your XI?

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