Both Huddersfield Town and West Ham are in relegation danger, but Kevin Hatchard believes it's the Hammers who are in better shape...
"West Ham have momentum and belief, while Huddersfield have hit a brick wall in the last couple of months."
Back West Ham Draw No Bet at [2.1]
Huddersfield v West Ham
Saturday January 13, 15:00
Huddersfield losing momentum in the race of their lives
As I stated in my entry to betting.betfair's Best Bets of 2018 piece, I fear that Huddersfield may be running out of steam at a bad time. They have claimed just nine points from their last 11 Premier League matches, and have won just twice in the top flight since they edged out West Brom in the first week of November.
This dreadful run has left David Wagner's Terriers just four points above the dropzone, in a relegation battle which involves pretty much every team outside the top eight (although Everton will probably be fine), so there is a dire need to turn things around.
There are issues at both ends of the pitch. Huddersfield have scored just 18 Premier League goals in 22 games. Big summer signing Steve Mounie has scored in just one of his last 17 league games, and only has four PL goals this term. Opta tell us that just six Huddersfield players have scored in the league this term.
At the other end, Huddersfield have managed just two clean sheets in their last 11 league games, and they have leaked 22 goals in that time. The acquisition of Monaco defender Terence Kongolo is fascinating. He was superb in helping Feyenoord win the Eredivisie title, but he is short of sharpness after the move to Ligue 1 proved disastrous.
Kongolo is pushing for his Premier League debut, while Elias Kachunga is sidelined and there are doubts over the fitness of Chris Lowe and Collin Quaner.
West Ham building a platform for survival push
Although the weekend's goalless FA Cup draw at lower-league Shrewsbury Town was something of an embarrassing slip-up, West Ham's form over the festive period has been strong, and manager David Moyes seems to be enjoying the rehabilitation of his personal profile. Damaged by his experiences in Stretford, San Sebastian and Sunderland, the Scot is showing he can still organise and revitalise a group of players.
That organisation was clear to see in the recent 1-1 draw at Spurs. The Hammers frustrated the hosts, and were just a few minutes away from what would have been an impressive victory when Son Heung-Min equalised. The draw extended West Ham's unbeaten run in the league to three games, and they have lost just one of their last seven league outings. That run includes three clean sheets, and the only failure to score in that sequence was in a goalless stalemate against Arsenal.
Marko Arnautovic is hoping to regain full fitness in time for the trip to Yorkshire, and there is a clutch of players carrying minor knocks. Edmilson Fernandes and Jose Fonte are both definitely out.
West Ham have the greater momentum of the two sides, and won the reverse fixture 2-0. A few weeks ago I might've leaned towards the hosts, but they are really struggling, while West Ham have found a bit of structure and belief in their game. I think it'll be a tense game, but I'm happy to back the visitors with insurance by using the Draw No Bet market.
With Huddersfield struggling for goals and West Ham digging in against the likes of Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea, it's tempting to think goals will be scarce here. However, if you look at their games against fellow bottom-half sides, they have been more entertaining. They beat Stoke 3-0, West Brom 2-1 and drew 3-3 at Bournemouth. They also lost 3-2 at home to Newcastle. Five of their last seven away games in the league have featured at least three goals.
At [2.64], I can't resist backing Over 2.5 Goals.
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Kevin Hatchard 2017-18 Premier League P/L
Points Staked: 35
Points Returned: 44.38
P/L: +9.38 points