Arty photograph of the day:
After a couple of impactful substitute appearances Yarmolenko gets a start for West Ham, who have Sebastien Haller in the squad for the first time since the restart. Burnley stick with the team that drew against Sheffield United.
West Ham: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Fornals, Yarmolenko, Antonio. Subs: Balbuena, Lanzini, Noble, Wilshere, Haller, Masuaku, Ajeti, Randolph, Johnson.
Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor, McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Pieters, Rodriguez, Vydra. Subs: Gudmundsson, Wood, Brady, Peacock-Farrell, Thompson, Dunne, Benson, Goodridge, Driscoll-Glennon.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Four points in two games, as many as they managed in the previous 10, have taken West Ham to the brink of safety. One more win, which would take them to 34 points, would surely be enough, given that, assuming no wild fluctuations in goal difference, it would leave Aston Villa or Bournemouth needing to win three or lose no more than one of their five remaining matches and Watford to win at least one more, and those teams are all in dismal form. A total of 34 points isn’t much of a standard to aim at, and West Ham will have been expecting considerably more, but it would still feel pretty sweet if they got there tonight, and with potential for more.
The Hammers’ remaining fixtures are handy: there are only four teams below them in the league and they’ve still got to play three of them. No team has ever stayed in a 20-team top flight with fewer than 34 points, and though I think that record could very well fall this year I don’t think West Ham will be the team to break it.
Burnley meanwhile have Burnleyed their way to 10th place, were safe before lockdown, and have picked up a couple more trademark 1-0 wins since. I fear I have not caught them on any or their good days this season, and the half-dozen matches I’ve seen have been almost completely joyless in a MarkHughesian Stoke way, albeit with an added air of competence. They are often more admirable than watchable. Unsurprising statistic dept: two of their three goals since lockdown have been scored by centre-backs (the third, to be fair, was a deft header from a fine cross).
Anyway, hello! Fingers crosses for some early-evening fun, eh?