West Ham v Tottenham: Lay into Spurs' inconsistency

Slaven Bilic has had plenty to smile about over the past few weeks.
Slaven Bilic has had plenty to smile about over the past few weeks.
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West Ham are gradually getting better and better whereas it's anyone's guess as to which Spurs will show up. So lay the visitors at odds-on, says Jamie Pacheco...

"It’s a little hard to justify Spurs’ odds of [1.65] on a number of counts. West Ham are on a good run as we’ve just seen and boast a strong-looking defence packed with experience while it’s a nice problem to have when you have to decide which of Andre Ayew or Arnautovic to leave out."

West Ham v Tottenham
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Hammers on the up

After a poor start to the season, things have improved over the last couple of weeks. Three points against Huddersfield were followed by a decent 0-0 draw at West Brom and a 3-0 win in midweek in the Carabao Cup at home to Bolton. Three clean sheets in a row is always something to be proud of, no matter which competition they come in.

That midweek win saw the return of Marko Arnautovic to first team action after serving a three-match ban for his sending off at Southampton. The Austrian was excellent, setting up two goals, and Slaven Bilic may consider handing him a start in this match. Another player who had a good game and scored in midweek was striker Diafra Sakho; but it's likely Bilic will stick with the little-and-large combination of Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez, at least for the time being.

Which Spurs will show up?

Inconsistency isn't normally a word you'd associate with Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino but it's appropriate to use it at the moment. Wins over Everton (3-0) and Borussia Dortmund (3-1) were very impressive, back-to-back home draws in the league against Burnley and Swansea far less so.

And given they fielded a pretty strong side in midweek in the Cup, including the likes of Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Heung-Min Son, Spurs fans may have expected a slightly more convincing win than the 1-0 secured against Barnsley.

Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela continue to miss out through injury.

Take on the visitors at odds-on

It's a little hard to justify Spurs' odds of [1.65] on a number of counts. West Ham are on a good run as we've just seen and boast a strong-looking defence packed with experience while it's a nice problem to have when you need to decide which of Andre Ayew or Arnautovic to leave out.

Unlike Spurs, they've now had a full season to get used playing at a different stadium and seem to be pretty comfortable in it right now. And this is a fixture they've enjoyed over the years on home soil - they've won three of the last four and that included a 1-0 win at the London Stadium last May, with Manuel Lanzini (injured for this game) scoring the winner.

With West Ham starting to find form, an almost full squad of players to choose from and their strong record at home to Spurs, the smart choice is to oppose the visitors.

One of the two can keep a clean sheet

It's hard to see why 'no' is the outsider in the 'both teams to score' market. All of the last four editions of this fixture saw at least one side keep one with a 1-0 Tottenham win, back in 2014 going alongside 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 wins for the hosts.

Going 'no' would have paid out in six of West Ham's seven matches in all competitions this season and the trend has been for Bilic to try to keep things pretty tight at home rather than going for the more traditional cavalier West Ham approach.

Will Hernandez end his goalless run?

Harry Kane looks horrendously short at 4/7 on the Betfair Sportsbook and if you can lay him at around [1.8] on the Exchange then that might be the way to go. That's no reflection on his ability; it's purely on price and based on how tough West Ham have been to break down over the past few weeks.

By his standards, Javier Hernandez is on a bit of a lean run, having scored in just one game all season out of seven (admittedly, he got two in that one). So if you believe he's 'due' then the 5/2 might appeal.

Arnautovic and Ayew are both a bit bigger at 7/2 but with doubts over whether they'll both start, you'd best wait until the teams are announced before taking a punt on either of them.

Ref Watch

Michael Oliver is increasingly looking like the natural successor to Mark Clattenburg as England's best referee. Confident in his decisions and happy to talk players and managers through them. Last week he rightly sent off David Luiz for a dangerous tackle and then took the time out to calmly explain his decision to an incensed Antonio Conte, who after hearing the ref's words, seemed to accept it a little better than you would have expected him to.

Last season he averaged 3.1 yellows a game and as neither of these sides are particularly indisciplined sides, going with 30-40 points on the bookings odds market would probably be the best way to go if you want to play it.

Recommended Bets

1pt Lay Spurs @ [1.65]
1pt Back 'no' on both teams to score market @ [2.26]

Jamie's P and L:

Staked: 6 pts
Returned: 3.2 pts
P and L: -2.8

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