West Ham v Middlesbrough: Back Payet to return to form and goals at both ends

It's been a slow start to the season for Payet but he's due a goal
It's been a slow start to the season for Payet but he's due a goal

The visit of Middlesbrough represents an opportunity for West Ham to right the wrongs of the past few weeks, but they're far too unreliable to back at the moment, says Jamie Pacheco, who is focusing on the goals markets...

'The stats involving Middlesbrough are very much on your side if you decide that neither goalkeeper will be picking up a clean sheet bonus. Boro have scored and conceded in the same match in six of their seven matches so far this season.'

West Ham v Middlesbrough
Saturday 15:00


West Ham

Yes, there have been a few injuries to key players. They've missed the raiding runs down the left flank of Aaron Cresswell, the trickery and unpredictability of Andre Ayew, the aerial threat and physical presence of Andy Carroll and the pace and goals of Diafra Sakho. They'll also be wishing right now that they hadn't loaned out striker Enner Valencia to Everton.

And yes, playing in a new stadium takes getting used to. The players have said that the atmosphere is completely different at the London Stadium and that the (long) distance between the fans and the pitch makes them feel isolated.

But neither excuse justifies just how bad West Ham have been. Four league defeats in a row and 14 goals conceded during that period is relegation form.


Middlesbrough

It's been a tough start to the campaign for Middlesbrough, too. Just the one win so far in six games (away to Sunderland) and two draws, at home to Stoke and away at West Brom. In fairness to them, they certainly haven't looked out of place in the division.

At least Aitor Karanka has a full squad of players to choose from for this match. He could do with chief-creators Stewart Downing and Gaston Ramirez seeing more of the ball. Downing had an excellent season at West Ham two years ago and may just fancy this against his old employers.

Match Odds

Tere are plenty of Opta stats to suggest a back of West Ham at 2.26/5. That Boro have lost all of their last five Premier League matches in London, that Boro goalkeeper Victor Valdes is yet to be on the winning side in a league game (two for Manchester United, four for Middlesbrough) or that the Hammers have beaten Saturday's visitors on each of the last seven times they've played them at home in the league. The latter stat needs to be put into context, though. Those were all games at Upton Park and as explained above, West Ham just haven't got to grips with their new home.

But West Ham were so poor on Sunday in a 3-0 defeat to Southampton that they simply can't be rated as value irrespective of what those historical stats say. If anything the visitors can be considered value at 3.7511/4 given they haven't played badly at all so far; they just haven't had the results go their way. But we'll leave this market alone.


Both teams to score

The stats involving Middlesbrough are very much on your side if you decide that neither goalkeeper will be picking up a clean sheet bonus. Boro have scored and conceded in the same match in six of their seven matches so far this season. The numbers paint a slightly less clear picture for West Ham with both teams scoring in six of their 11 games so far this season but that's still more than half.

Stats aside, logic dictates that 'yes' could well be the winning runner here at around 1.845/6. Neither defence is particularly strong and though the attacking talent on show for both sides is a little out of form, between the likes of Dimitri Payet, Michael Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, Downing, Ramirez and Alvaro Negredo, we should get at least one goal for each side.


To score

Dimitri Payet has had a slow start to the season just like about everyone else in that West Ham dressing room. The physical and mental exhaustion from France's Euro 2016 campaign, where he was such a crucial player for the hosts, explains it to an extent. But he's too good a player to stay quiet for too long and he's been getting fitter and fitter with every match after those summer exertions. This could be the match where he reminds everyone just how brilliant a player he is by getting a goal - get on at 3.711/4 or better.


Ref Watch

Neil Swarbrick takes charge of this one. He averages just under four yellows a match this season (no reds) with his average dropping to 2.8 yellows a match and a red every five matches over the course of last season. Earlier this season he took charge of Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace and showed three yellows, including one to Boro substitute Gaston Ramirez. This match looks unlikely to get too feisty.

Recommended Bets

2pts Back 'yes' in both teams to score @ 1.8810/11
1pt Back Dimitri Payet to score anytime @ 3.711/4

Jamie's 2016/17 Premier League P/L

Staked: 12pts
Returned: 15.52pts
P/L: +3.52pts

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Read past articles