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West Ham can take +2 handicap spoils at 19/20 against Man City

West Ham – 11/1 for the victory with Coral – will arrive at the Etihad on Saturday to find themselves the kind of underdogs rarely seen outside pet cemeteries, but their hosts’ psyche is difficult to fathom at the moment, with only a league silver medal resting on this encounter stranger things happened. Big Sam has his Hammers striking in unison as the season draws to a close and they are capable of winning the game with a plus two handicap at 19/20 with Coral.

Since swallowing the bitter pill of a home derby defeat in mid-December City have been on a fairly relentless winning run, picking up 16 victories from 21 outings, but of late cracks have begun to appear in that winning veneer. Tottenham and Everton are good sides, however it’s hard not to surmise that a fully-focused Sky Blues could’ve ground out points at those sides’ respective homesteads.

Unlike Roberto Mancini, well-known psychological alchemist Sam Allardyce has conjured a late season renaissance in West Ham’s form that’s seen them nab three wins and three draws from their last seven outings.

A renewed commitment to the defensive basics has underpinned their spring surge, with James Collins leading by towering example in the heart of defence. This compliments an enduring  competitive spirit that has seen the promoted side lose by more than a single goal just once since February.

The Hammers have previous when it comes to shutting out City, having secured a 0-0 draw with them at home in February and will lowly lights such as Reading and Wigan – 1-0 Etihad losers both – have shown that industry and application can yield respectable losses at the very least.

Given City allow only the creme de la creme to score at their manor – Man United, Liverpool and Sky Blue bogey-boys Everton are the sole visitors to register in 12 matches since November – it’s unlikely see the Irons hitting the mark more than once. Therefore West Ham’s best chance of a respectable result lies in defensive chastity and as such under 3.5 goals in the match is worth backing at 8/13 with Coral.