Scoring For Fun At Upton ParkStats
West Ham v Man City
Confidence is high at Upton Park, but they’ll need to be on the very top of their game this Saturday when Manchester City visit…
Three wins in their last four games have moved West Ham up to fourth position in the Premier League table and the mood at the Boleyn Ground is now a stark contrast from that of six months ago. Towards the end of last season the Hammers fans were beginning to turn on manager Sam Allardyce, but the former Bolton and Newcastle boss has kept true to his summer promise of more attractive football and the east Londoners are reaping the rewards.
Andy Carroll’s pre-season injury has proved a blessing in disguise, allowing the likes of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho to develop a partnership supplied by the impressive Stewart Downing and Morgan Amalfitano.
Sakho has scored six goals in his last six appearances, while Valencia doubled his tally in a claret shirt with the second goal of the game in the 3-1 win at Burnley last Saturday. At the other end of the pitch goalkeeper Adrian has kept only one clean sheet all season, and that came against bottom-of-the-table QPR.
Manchester City’s confidence, by contrast, took a hit in midweek as they could only take a point from their Champions League game in Moscow, despite having led 2-0 at half-time. The Citizens have, however, lost only one league game this season and have won four and lost none of their last seven in all competitions.
Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his last five appearances, including a four-goal haul in the 4-1 win over Spurs last weekend. The Argentine now has the best minutes-per-goal rate of any player in Premier League history.
Andy Carroll is the hosts’ only major long-term injury concern, but there are also doubts surrounding the fitness of Guy Demel, who hasn’t featured since September due to a thigh injury, and Mauro Zarate who picked up a knock in the game against Burnley.
Frank Lamaprd missed City’s midweek Champions League game after being substituted in the early stages of the Spurs game last weekend, while Samir Nasri is still unavailable following groin surgery.
West Ham lost all four meetings between the two teams last season (including two in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup) by an aggregate 14-1 scoreline.
The Hammers haven’t won any of the previous 10 meetings and have only managed two draws in that period.
Normally this would be a straightforward recommendation for an away three points. But the way that West Ham have played this season means that we at least need to think twice about backing City at a short 8/15. I much prefer the look of West Ham +2 at similar odds of 4/7 in the Handicap market.
I also think that the goals markets are worth investing in. Both teams have been scoring for fun lately, while neither are particularly tight at the back, and Over 3.5 goals at odds of 11/8 looks a very good bet. In-form strikers Aguero and Sakho are quoted at odds of 8/13 and 13/5 respectively to score anytime.