Skip to main content

Alan Irvine undaunted ahead of West Ham’s challenging run of fixtures

West Ham United v Chelsea – Premier League – London Stadium
(Image credit: Adam Davy/NMC Pool)

Alan Irvine has backed West Ham to hold their own during a challenging set of fixtures over the next month.

The Hammers start a difficult period with a home game against Wolves on Sunday before they travel to high-flying Everton in the Carabao Cup next week.

October presents even more challenges with matches against Leicester, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool, but assistant Irvine wants the players to draw inspiration from a superb 3-2 win over Chelsea in July.

While David Moyes’ men impressed at Arsenal last weekend, they suffered a second consecutive Premier League loss after an opening day defeat to Newcastle at the London Stadium.

Alan Irvine took charge of West Ham against Hull after David Moyes tested positive for coronavirus

Alan Irvine took charge of West Ham against Hull after David Moyes tested positive for coronavirus (Alastair Grant/PA)

But Irvine insisted: “Clearly we have got hard games coming up, starting with Wolves this weekend.

“You never know in any league where you are going to get your wins and nobody would have put us down for a win against Chelsea after lockdown, especially the way Chelsea were playing in that particular time.

“Anybody in the Premier League can beat anybody else and we go into every game with a game plan, knowing how to negate their strengths and trying to exploit the weaknesses and we will go into these games in exactly that way.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to go to Arsenal and win but actually on the balance of the game we certainly deserved something out of it.”

West Ham will be without Moyes at the London Stadium after he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, but he will still take charge of the team remotely while in self-isolation.

The Scot will pick the side and – despite a strong showing at the Emirates last weekend – may be tempted to start record signing Sebastien Haller.

A double against Hull was a further boost for the forward’s confidence, after he also netted twice in the second round win over Charlton.

“It’s absolutely crucial for strikers to score goals in any competition against any opposition, so that’s great for him and he’s feeling a lot happier about himself at the moment,” Irvine added.

“He certainly, as a number of others are doing in the way they performed the other night, is pushing to be involved in the team.”

Issa Diop and Josh Cullen will be absent for the visit of Wolves after they, like boss Moyes, recorded positive coronavirus test results on Tuesday.

Captain Mark Noble is available again though following a toe injury and yet whether he will slot into the 3-4-3 formation used at Arsenal remains to be seen.

“His leadership is vitally important. He is a massive part of our squad and a really influential player and person,” Irvine said.

“Nobody has a guaranteed place within any football club and Mark will certainly play lots of football for this club this season, that is for sure.

“Whether he plays every game is another matter and I think he would probably be one who would say that it is demanding for him at this stage with a couple of niggling injuries.”