Hammer Time? Can West Ham overcome City
Spurs 0 West Ham 3. How did that happen? It was a result nobody saw coming, not even Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, whose decision to play without a recognised striker hardly seemed likely to bring about by far the biggest shock of the Premier League weekend at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago.
Spurs had been riding so high that talk of a Champions League spot has been replaced by predictions of actually winning the Premiership title. West Ham, on the other hand, had won just one of their opening six fixtures and were already close enough to the relegation zone to cause concern.
But somehow, despite Spurs bossing possession for large portions of the game, it did happen and West Ham’s job now is to show everyone that it wasn’t a one-off fluke.
Certainly Manchester City will test them at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday. Coral go 4/1 West Ham and 8/11 City (5/2 the draw), odds which suggest they are likely to be brought down to earth against the Premiership’s 11/5 favourites.
City have had a mixed start to the season and team morale won’t be good after Bayern Munich gave them the runaround in the Champions League earlier in the month.
Edin Dzeko will be on a high, however, after Bosnia-Herzegovina’s qualification for the World Cup on Tuesday and Coral make him 9/2 joint favourite with strike partners Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero to score first or last (6/5 at any time).
For West Ham, all eyes will be on midfielder Ravel Morrison, following his brilliant strike at Spurs and another wonderful individual goal for England’s Under-21s in midweek.
Morrison’s off-field troubles have been well-documented, but he appears now to be fulfilling his enormous potential; so much so that several pundits are predicting that he will be on the plane to Rio next summer.
Roy Hodgson will be thrilled if this “fantastic talent” – his words – can break through to the full England squad in time for the World Cup, but in the meantime it will be interesting to see how he copes with this new expectancy.
We know Morrison can score goals and his confidence is sky high right now, so 5/1 to breach the City defence (12/1 first or last) makes plenty of appeal.
Coral go a massive 80/1 that West Ham do to City what they did to Spurs and win 3-0, but it’s a big ask to expect a side who had previously been struggling to slay two giants in a row and a reverse scoreline (14/1) is perhaps the more likely outcome.