Dimitri Payet's return to the West Ham starting line-up instantly brought more goals in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Bournemouth, including a stunning free-kick from the man himself, and prospects look bright again for Saturday's visit to Newcastle.
West Ham's figures this season are good in this type of fixture. They lie fifth in the Premier League with just four defeats in 21 matches - two of which were against teams above them in the table - and on away form they rank even better in third place. Overall their record against teams below them is W7 D8 L2 and they have lost only once in 11 against teams from the bottom half of the table.
Payet holds the key and his return from injury promises another upsurge in form from the Hammers. When he was storming through the autumn, West Ham scored freely (only one blank in 12 Premier League games) and were particularly lethal on the road, winning at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City as they compiled an away record of W4 D1 L1 with Payet leading the attack.
After Payet was injured in early November - and other injuries in the forward line compounded the problem - Hammers boss Slaven Bilic went into holding mode with the emphasis on keeping a clean sheet. Goal tallies went down at both ends of the pitch and six of the eight games without Payet had under 2.5 goals (five were draws, three of them goalless).
After scoring only two goals in four away games during Payet's absence, West Ham notched three at Bournemouth on Tuesday and that mirrored their early away form with Payet in the side, where the goal tallies were two, three, two, two, three and nil (the blank coming against well-organised Watford).
If the Hammers score at St James' Park on Saturday, they will have a strong chance of taking something from the game. Despite a stirring fightback to draw 3-3 with Manchester United on Tuesday, Newcastle have won only once in nine home matches when conceding (in the 6-2 against lowly Norwich) - their record in those circumstances is W1 D4 L4.
West Ham are odds-against on the Draw No Bet at 2.186/5 and rate a solid choice, with Newcastle requiring significant improvement to beat them.
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Hornets to sting ailing Swans
Watford emerged as the best of the promoted teams in the first half of the season mainly because of their strong form against sides near the bottom of the table and they can get back on track with another good result away to Swansea on Monday night.
Quique Sanchez Flores' side were beaten 2-0 at Southampton on Wednesday, which was their first defeat in 11 games against teams below them in the table.
That solidity has been the foundation of their success this season and they have been highly effective on the road, with only three defeats in 10 (before losing at Southampton, their only away defeats had been against Leicester and Manchester City from the top three).
Their form is particularly impressive against the strugglers in the bottom six, with a record of W5 D1 L0 (W3 D1 L0 on the road).
That gives them a good chance at Swansea, who lost 4-2 at home to Sunderland on Wednesday following their FA Cup exit at League Two Oxford United.
The early promise of Swansea's 2-1 home win over Manchester United in August has been lost and their only other three victories have been against bottom-eight sides (all of whom rank with Swansea among the four lowest scorers in the division).
A win looks difficult for Swansea to achieve, making Watford a solid bet at 23/20 on the Draw No Bet with Betfair Sportsbook.
Back West Ham on Draw No Bet v Newcastle at 2.186/5 (1pt)
Back Watford on Draw No Bet v Swansea at 23/20 with Betfair Sportsbook (1pt)
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