West Ham looking to keep up the good work at Everton
There’s no doubt about who is the Premier League team of the month. West Ham started February languishing in the bottom three, but four straight wins, all by two-goal margins, have taken them into the top half of the table.
In truth, it was a nice run of fixtures – you can never say easy in the Premier League, but they were games you could see the Hammers winning.
But now they need to step up a gear if they are to get anything from their trip to Everton, who still harbour ambitions of finishing in a Champions League place, despite a recent wobble which has seen them lose three of their last four after just two defeats in their first 22 fixtures.
Sam Allardyce believes that Andy Carroll still has a chance of making the World Cup squad. The striker is not everybody’s cup of tea and may in the end lose out to Rickie Lambert if Hodgson wants to take a big target man to Brazil.
But we can be sure that Carroll (8/1 to score first or last, 11/4 at any time), back from serving a three-match suspension, will be up for the challenge and we all know what a handful he can be for any defence when he’s on his game.
Coral bet 1/3 Everton and 6/1 West Ham, but the Londoners have the bit between their teeth and I fancy they might at least snatch a draw (3/1).
Hull had been scoring at less than one goal per game until they thrashed Cardiff 4-0 in south Wales last weekend, but in January signings Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, they now possess a much more potent goal threat.
Newcastle have been struggling for goals and points, but Loic Remy’s late strike eased the pressure on the Magpies (for the time being, at least) and now totally safe on 40 points, they might just start to relax and play the sort of football they were playing earlier in the season.
This has the making of another draw (23/10) and there could be a few goals in it. Coral’s 18/1 that it finishes 2-2 makes appeal.
Leaders Chelsea (4/9) visit bottom club Fulham and though Arsene Wenger said this week that the Premier League is the toughest league in the world because the strength goes right through from one to 20, it is very difficult to imagine the struggling Cottagers holding Mourinho’s men at bay.
Wenger, meanwhile, takes his title challengers Arsenal (8/13) to Stoke, who, in between disappointing results, have beaten Manchester United 2-1 and lost just 1-0 to Manchester City.
It won’t be easy for the Gunners, but they are better at toughing it out in these type of fixtures these days and I expect them to keep the pressure on Chelsea.