West Ham take on Cardiff at the London Stadium on Tuesday night, looking to build on their 3-0 thrashing of Newcastle on Saturday, but will they be able to hammer the improve Bluebirds? Our man's not so sure they will...
"Cardiff restricted both Spurs and Everton well, losing both games 1-0, and they might just prove hard to break down. Over 2 ½ goals is the odds-on jolly in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market but less than three looks more likely and I’m happy to play Under 2.5 at [2.1]."
West Ham v Cardiff
Tuesday 4 December, 19:45
Hammers on the rise but can they win back-to-back?
After a poor start to the season, which saw West Ham lose their first four games, the Hammers are improving nicely under new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, and they've lost just one of their last five (4-0 at home to Manchester City) but that result wasn't as awful as it looks on paper.
The score flattered the champions somewhat and the City boss, Pep Guardiola, even said afterwards that he "had the feeling, we were a little bit lucky". I'm not sure it's possible to win so easily and be lucky to do so but City took their chances well and West Ham didn't. Both sides had nine shots in total and the Hammers had eight corners to City's one. The league leaders weren't at their best after the international break but West Ham were much better than the score suggested and it was no surprise to see them get back on track at Newcastle on Saturday, where they won comfortably by three goals to nil.
The Magpies had won three in-a-row before Saturday but West Ham took an early lead through Javier Hernandez, who had been recalled to the first team for the first time since October, and the Mexican added a second after the break before man of the match, Felipe Anderson, put the icing on the cake in injury time.
The goals are starting to be shared around a bit more now and the heavy reliance on Marco Arnautovic is lessoning. The brilliant Anderson has now scored in three of the last four Premier League games and he's increasingly looking like a fabulous signing.
West Ham are definitely on the rise but they're still yet to win back-to-back Premier League games this season.
Improving Cardiff look to improve record on the road
Having looked in big trouble when they went 1-0 down at home to fellow strugglers Fulham towards the end of October, having lost their previous five on the trot, and having not won a game all season, Cardiff have started to show some real grit and determination.
The Bluebirds rallied to beat Fulham 4-2 and they've since come from behind at home to beat both Brighton and Wolves 2-1. They're still odds-on to make an immediate return to the Championship but they've climbed out of the bottom three for the first time this season after Friday night's victory against Wolves and their confidence is growing.
Finding some resolution at home is one thing but getting results on the road is quite another and so far, they've struggled on their travels with a nil-nil draw at Huddersfield at the beginning of the season being the only highlight. They've lost five of their six away games to date and they've scored just three times. It's not been a great start but they've had some tough assignments.
Since a 2-0 defeat at Bournemouth on the opening day of the season, the Bluebirds have been beaten at Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton but anything other than a loss in any of those fixtures would have been considered a shock result so there's an argument to be made that they're not as bad as their league position suggests.
West Ham worthy favs but value lies elsewhere
West Ham deserve to be odds-on after their impressive win at St James' Park on Saturday but I'm not convinced I want to side with them at such a short price in the outright market. They stuck four past a sorry Burnley a month ago and they beat Manchester United 3-1 at home back in September but in their other five games at the London Stadium they've found the back of the net just once, when losing to Bournemouth back in August.
The Hammers are far and away the most likely winners and they've got a great record against Cardiff - winning their last six encounters in all competitions - but they've picked up more points on the road than they have at home this season and there are better opportunities in the side markets...
Stoic Cardiff can keep the goal tally down
Although they haven't reaped the rewards, Cardiff have been fairly stoic on the road. They lost 4-1 to both Chelsea and Liverpool but they were in front at Stamford Bridge until the 37th minute and it took Liverpool more than an hour to double their lead after a tenth minute Mo Salah strike had given the Reds an early lead at Anfield. Cardiff restricted both Spurs and Everton well, losing both games 1-0, and they might just prove hard to break down. Over 2 ½ goals is the odds-on jolly in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market but less than three looks more likely and I'm happy to play Under 2.5 at [2.1].
West Ham beat Cardiff 2-0 in both of their Premier League encounters in the 2013/14 season and four of the last six matches between the two sides in all competitions have ended with the Hammers beating the Bluebirds 2-0 so I'm more than happy to have a small wager on that outcome at [10.0].
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, West Ham to win and Felipe Anderson to score again pays £4.62 for £1 stake and Anderson to score and 2-0 West Ham pays a juicy £27.33 for a £1 stake.
Staked: 49 pts
P/L: -8.39 pts
2 Pts Under 2.5 Goals @ [2.16]
½ Pt West Ham 2-0 @ [10.0]