West Ham have made a stunning start to the campaign, and Kevin Hatchard thinks that winning streak will continue against Crystal Palace.
"West Ham have scored eight goals across two victories, and they are playing with confidence and consistency. I think Crystal Palace can score, but avoiding defeat seems a tall order."
Antonio leading the Hammers' charge
It's already one of the iconic goal celebrations of this season. Having become West Ham's record Premier League goalscorer with the third Hammers goal of a 4-1 win over Leicester City, the effervescent Michail Antonio celebrated with a cardboard cut-out of himself. Antonio would later add a second with a superb finish, as the Olympic Stadium crackled with an atmosphere rarely experienced at a West Ham game.
David Moyes made major missteps at Manchester United and Real Sociedad, but in East London he has reminded everyone why he is one of the Premier League's most effective coaches.
The Glaswegian delivered a top-six finish last term, and this season he has started the campaign by overseeing back-to-back league victories, with his side netting four goals in each of those successes. Moyes can be characterised as a dour coach sometimes, but the truth is somewhat different. West Ham have scored in 24 of their last 30 top-flight matches, and they outscored Chelsea and Arsenal last term, netting 62 times across 38 games.
West Ham have won eight of their last 12 Premier League home matches, and Moyes will hope that a positive atmosphere will linger at the Olympic Stadium. There are no fresh injury concerns for Moyes to contend with, and it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to enhance his defensive options by bringing in Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma.
Palace still stuck on the starting blocks
Last Saturday's goalless draw with Brentford was a step in the right direction for Crystal Palace under Patrick Vieira, but it was only a small one. There were some bright moments - Conor Gallagher rattled the woodwork on his Selhurst Park debut for the club, and Christian Benteke headed a presentable chance off-target, but this still very much feels like a work in progress.
To make matters worse, Palace tumbled out of the Carabao Cup in midweek, losing 1-0 at Watford to a late goal. Three games, two defeats and no goals. We're not quite in Frank de Boer territory, but after his time at Nice turned sour, former Arsenal star Vieira needs to win hearts and minds, and he must do it quickly.
It doesn't help that young talents Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise are still unavailable due to injury, while Luka Milivojevic continues to miss games because of unspecified personal reasons. The squad is thin, and Jean-Philippe Mateta has failed to shine since arriving from German club Mainz. The Frenchman has always lacked consistency, and it remains to be seen whether he or Benteke will truly suit the way Vieira wants to play.
Hammers the fair favourites
West Ham are clearly further along than Palace in their development, and they are rightful favourites in the Match Odds market at 1.625/8. I'm happy to back Moyes' men, so it's then a question of how we boost that price.
We can back West Ham to win and both teams to score at 3.55/2 on the Sportsbook, and that makes sense. Our friends at Opta tell us that both teams have found the net in the last eight meetings between these two in the Premier League, including West Ham's 3-2 victory last time out. If you look at West Ham's last 13 Premier League victories, ten of them saw both teams score.
Of course, the fear is that Palace won't do their bit and score, but West Ham have kept just two clean sheets in their last 15 top-flight matches.
If you want to simplify things and simply back Both Teams To Score, you can do that at 1.9720/21 on the Exchange.
Fast start is worth backing
If we expect goals here, it's worth looking at whether we'll get a rip-roaring start. There have been at least two first-half goals in ten of West Ham's last 15 PL games, and you can back Over 1.5 First Half Goals at 2.757/4.
Antonio to strike again?
Michail Antonio has scored six goals across his last seven Premier League appearances, and he has netted in both top-flight outings this term. He is available at evens to score at any time here.
Another angle worth looking at is backing the revitalised Said Benrahma to produce an assist at 3.613/5. The former Brentford star has produced a goal and an assist in each of West Ham's games in the league.
Kevin Hatchard 2021-22 Premier League P/L
Points Staked: 3
Points Returned: 2.04
P/L: -0.96 points
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