There is a suspicion that West Ham may be about to fall back into mid-table mediocrity.
On the face of it both these teams will be delighted by the way the season has gone so far. However, while West Ham have been playing entertaining and attractive football the Baggies fans have had to put up with a far poorer show. They might be up in 12th and have just beaten Arsenal but Tony Pulis’ tactics are beginning to cause some disgruntlement.
That’s unlikely to cause any change in approach, however, and with West Ham’s first game without Dimitri Payet resulting in a 4-1 thrashing, the visitors may be sensing the chance of another upset. Since Pulis took over West Brom have kept clean sheets in 16 of 31 games and they’ve been just as effective on the road as at home – no team has had less possession this season so they are almost happier when they can sit back and let the opposition take the initiative. Seven of their 15 away games in this time have had fewer than two goals as they’ve recorded four 1-0 wins and three goalless matches. Meanwhile, seven of these games have been goalless at half-time.
The Hammers have managed just one point from their last three games while scoring only twice and there is a suspicion that they may be about to fall back into mid-table mediocrity. Mark Noble has started every game this term and the captain is suspended to leave another hole in their midfield. Since the start of last season they’ve won half their 14 home games against bottom-half teams with half also having fewer than three goals. However, if we change our search slightly, to home matches against teams placed 8th-16th then we see they’ve won only one of their last seven matches and against a team as tough to breakdown as the Baggies we’d look to take West Ham on this weekend.
West Brom can be backed at 3/1 but the 1-0 Correct Score is a far better bet at 11/1 while the Draw No Bet at 19/10 is a good idea, with this fixture having finished all-square in each of the past two seasons.
Goals backers will probably be leaning towards ‘unders’ here and at 8/11 the Under 2.5 bet looks a reasonable price, although we’d certainly be tempted to go for the Under 1.5 at 21/10.
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