Crystal Palace can capitalise on out of form West Ham at Upton Park
West Ham United have beaten just one top-flight side across any competition (Premier League and FA Cup) in 90 minutes since before Christmas.
Contrast that with Alan Pardew’s 100 per cent away record of four victories since taking charge of Crystal Palace, and the Eagles look outstanding value at 14/5 with Coral to win at Upton Park.
It is another meeting with a former club for Pardew, who brought the Hammers up via the play-offs at the second attempt in 2005, having lost to Palace in the previous year’s final. From there, he took West Ham into Europe via an FA Cup final appearance the following year.
Sam Allardyce has the West Ham hotseat for now, but contract talks were shelved following this downturn in form, but the hosts are even-money favourites to send the Eagles back across London pointless. A capital clubs derby day draw, meanwhile, is 12/5.
Palace have lost just one of the last seven head-to-heads with the Hammers, so can be confident of getting something, although that sole defeat came in this term’s reverse fixture when Big Sam’s boys won 3-1 at Selhurst Park.
Both teams are missing key players in attack. The Eagles will be without in-form Fraizer Campbell, Marouane Chamakh and Yaya Sanogo, who all have hamstring problems, but midfield is boosted by Mile Jedinak and James McArthur’s respective returns to fitness.
Visiting skipper Jedinak netted a winning penalty at Upton Park last term, and is an 11/2 anytime scorer chance here. Dwight Gayle should lead Palace’s attack, and is 11/4 in the same market.
Allardyce faces absences up front too, with target men Andy Carroll (knee surgery) and Carlton Cole (hamstring) both out, so free transfer signing Nene shall make his debut. The Brazilian forward, who used to play for PSG, is a 7/4 chance to cap his bow with a goal.
Cheikhou Kouyate has proved his aerial threat in recent matches with two strikes in February since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal. He is 4/1 to net again anytime, with compatriot Diafra Sakho 11/2 to grab the opener.
Given both teams’ dearth in attack, a low-scoring affair should be on the cards. The match total being under 1.5 is a nifty 9/4, with the Eagles 9/1 to nick this game 1-0.