Alan Dudman previews West Ham's visit to Newcastle this Sunday, but he is backing the Toon to surprise at the bigger price...
"I've just got a nagging feeling that with several stars involved in a tiring Euro 2020 and the sheer effort to get Champions League football, the Hammers might need a few games to ease their way back in."
Moyes confident of a repeat success
A record breaking season for West Ham last term and European qualification means that all is rosy in the garden of David Moyes and his Hammers - and as a fan, I can admit, it wasn't what I was expecting. Moyes had undergone some sort of transformation in the latter stages of the campaign; enjoying press conferences, he even smiled in one post-match interview. I jest of course, but the doom and gloom dour nature from his Manchester United days has been shrugged off.
West Ham at times played with a verve and panache, with a new-found confidence buzzing through the team. Jesse Lingard was a catalyst so it will be interesting to see how they can cope without him. Against Aston Villa they produced a bit of "keep-ball" that lasted forever. One had to blink twice to see if it really was happening.
It's been a promising pre-season with good results and fitness-wise, the Hammers have a couple of doubts concerning Angelo Ogbonna following a hamstring injury against Celtic and Manuel Lanzini with a groin. A clean bill of health has been reported for the majority of the squad.
Youngster Ben Johnson featured 14 times for Moyes last term and has outlined his eagerness to push for more starts.
Bruce at the helm, with Willock on board
A 12th-placed finish for the Magpies under Steve Bruce was a moderate success having fought towards the lower reaches of the table for a few months and they did lose eight times at St James's Park last in a campaign that never really hit any heights. A particular highlight was the 17% possession stat against Manchester City, but still managing to score three times. Surely some sort of record?
Bruce has won eight of his 20 Premier League encounters with West Ham (D4 L8), though, only winning more against Bolton Wanderers in the competition (12). Joe Willock has been signed with a reported £20m outlay and two more incomings are expected, with a central defensive midfielder top priority.
Newcastle beat West Ham in their opening Premier League match last season, winning 2-0 at London Stadium. The Magpies haven't won on MD1 in consecutive Premier League seasons since beating Wigan Athletic in 2006-07 and Bolton Wanderers in 2007-08, but I'd have the pair a little closer together in the betting and my first impression looking at the Toon price on the Sportsbook is that it is too big. The Toon are often written off easily (mostly by my Newcastle United-supporting friend).
If West Ham can carry on their work from last season, quite a few will be playing at the 6/5 price judged on winning their last two league matches of the 2020-21 season, netting three goals each time. Indeed, the Hammers scored 3+ goals in 11 different Premier League matches last term, with only the top two sides (Man City and Man Utd, 13 each) doing so more often.
But I've just got a nagging feeling that with several stars involved in a tiring Euro 2020 and the sheer effort to get Champions League football, the Hammers might need a few games to ease their way back in.
The Betbuilder option to use Newcastle to win (9/4), a correct score 1-0 (9/1) and Callum Wilson to score at anytime (7/5) pays a healthy 26/1, and Wilson certainly has the Hammers in his sights with eight goals in 10 PL appearances against the Londoners - more than any other Premier League opponent. He could be a popular man on Sunday, and you can combine him with Michail Antonio to have two or more shots on target each, and that's another boost from 14/1 to 18/1.
The two played out a thrilling 3-2 at St James's Park last season, albeit aided by Craig Dawson's red card early in the game, but Newcastle registered an xG of 2.43 in that, a significant figure once again given the lack of the ball they had at just 34%. That game was in a run of six out of eight that hit the Over 2.5 target, and a healthy seven from eight on the BTTS bet.
From March the Hammers were seven from 10 so we can certainly consider the Over 2.5 - which is the bigger price at 2.01/1, and can be used as a decent cover bet as only West Brom conceded more home goals than Newcastle last term (33).
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