West Ham v Huddersfield
Live on Sky Sports Main Event & Premier League
Bilic desperate for a win as Hammers return home
It's been a torrid start to the league season for West Ham and their manager Slaven Bilic; after losing all three games with 10 goals conceded the Hammers currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League and talks have already taken place with the club's owners about the 48-year-old's future.
Those talks went in Bilic's favour with the boss reportedly being told that he has a few more games to turn around the club's form, though a home defeat to Huddersfield on Monday night will almost certainly spell the beginning of the end for the former Hammers favourite.
Of course, all West Ham's league defeats came away from home and a return to the London Stadium might just be the ticket for a change in fortunes. And on the evidence of their 3-2 defeat at Southampton there really shouldn't be too much to worry about.
Bilic's men were excellent that day, showing a tremendous attitude to fight back from 2-0 down with just 10 men and registering almost double the amount of shots on target as the hosts. If Bilic can glean something similar from his men in the coming weeks then results will surely turn in his favour.
Marko Arnautovic - the man responsible for West Ham being down to 10 men at Southampton - is still suspended, while Manuel Lanzini and Edimilson Fernandes are out injured. But in better news, Andy Carroll could be involved for the first time this season after recovering from a thigh problem, and defender Winston Reid is fit again following a calf injury.
Superb start means all eyes now on Terriers
Newly promoted Huddersfield have enjoyed a tremendous start to life in the Premier League, taking seven points from a possible nine, but perhaps more impressively keeping three straight clean sheets in the process.
David Wagner's men currently sit third in an embryonic table (before the weekend games), and it's a position that earned the boss the Premier League Manager of the Month award for August.
There are many players that deserve a mention, but perhaps chief among them being Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, former Germany U21 international defender Christopher Schindler, and current Australia international midfielder Aaron Mooy. All have excelled in the early weeks, giving the Terriers a solid looking spine to their team.
All eyes will now be on Wagner's men to see if they can carry on the good form, or whether the international break has stifled the momentum they brought into the top flight following their Championship play-off triumph.
Wagner has no fresh injury concerns so could start with the same XI that played against Southampton, though new signings Abdelhamid Sabiri and Florent Hadergjonaj are expected to make the bench at least.
West Ham failed to win 12 of their 19 games at the London Stadium last season (D4, L8) and following their poor start to this campaign I'm sure there'll be many punters willing to take them on at around the [2.0] mark in the Match Odds market. But I'm not one of them.
I find it a lot easier to oppose teams when they show very little on the field, don't look to have any fight, or plain and simply don't look good enough. I honestly don't think that's the case with the Hammers.
It's easy to forget that they played okay in spells at Old Trafford and only a few extremely late United goals made the scoreline look very one-sided. And they then went to St Mary's and produced a remarkable performance, almost out-playing the Saints when 2-0 down and with just 10 men, scoring twice through Javier Hernandez before losing to a 93rd minute penalty.
Admittedly they were poor at Newcastle despite enjoying 63% possession, but I believe Bilic's men will be fine this season and comfortably finish mid-table. And I think they can get back on track with a win over Huddersfield on Monday night.
You can back the Terriers at [4.7] (the Draw is [3.5]) but If we were to be ultra critical we could point out that they've so far defeated a Crystal Palace side that look poor under Frank de Boer, before narrowly getting the better of a Newcastle team fancied to be in a battle to avoid relegation. A home draw with mid-table Southampton was creditable, but nothing more.
More down to their opponents all three of West Ham's league games have gone over the 2.5 goals mark, though games involving Huddersfield so far this term have averaged just 1.33 per match (four goals in three games).
But I think the way this game is likely to pan out suggests a low-scoring encounter. Wagner's men have been rock solid defensively so far while Bilic's men need to get back to basics and get a clean sheet on the board as soon as possible.
I remember Bilic coming under a bit of pressure as Christmas approached last season, and he pointed out that back-to-back home games against Burnley and Hull would be crucial. West Ham won them both 1-0.
In fact, a closer inspection of West Ham's seven home league wins last season makes for remarkable reading. They were achieved by scorelines of - in order they were played - 1-0, 1-0, 1-0, 1-0, 3-0, 1-0, 1-0. And as well as victories over Burnley and Hull they defeated the likes of Swansea, Bournemouth, Sunderland and Crystal Palace in that sequence. In other words, Bilic found a way to keep games tight at the London Stadium and beat the teams his side were expected to beat.
Until that pattern changes, and with Huddersfield extremely likely to be a team that finishes bottom half of the table and below West Ham, then I have to continue to back Under 2.5 Goals - available to back at [1.92] in this game - in such encounters involving Bilic's men.
And I also see no reason why for those fancying a home victory, that you shouldn't back a West Ham Win to Nil at 9/4 on the Sportsbook.
Mike's Individual Match Preview P/L (all competitions)
Staked: 6 pts
Returned: 12.90 pts
P/L: +6.90 pts