WEST Ham travel to Malta on Thursday looking to progress in the Europa League. Best bets from Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79).
Birkirkara v West Ham | Thursday 19:45
Not sure what’s been worse – West Ham’s performance in the Europa League so far, or my attempts at trying to predict their matches. I appreciate it’s very early into the campaign but their displays against Lusitanos and Birkirkara have been fairly limp.
In the opening round they scored four goals against Andorran minnows Lusitanos over the two legs. Into the second qualifying round then and a a match with Maltese side Birkirkara.
In the first leg match last week manager Slaven Bilic brought back a collection of first team regulars to beef up the starting line up from the previous round. Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan were all fed into the team but it was still a stodgy display. In fact West Ham needed a 90th minute goal from James Tomkins to sink Birkirkara.
In fairness, the Hammers had 74% possession in the match and 14 shots to Birkirkara’s solitary effort. They just lacked a cutting edge in front of goal and you’d like to think that may improve this time round with that match under their belt.
The East London side are 4/11 with BetVictor to win the match with Birkirkara as big as 11/1 with Betfair to win on home soil. The Infetti Ground hasn’t really been a fruitful place for the Maltese outfit in Europe, they drew 0-0 with Armenian side Ulisses in the previous round and haven’t won there since 2010 in European competition.
West Ham haven’t looked like conceding so far in the Europa League and I’m happy to back them to win to nil here. Crucially, it’s odds against with Betway so that’s enough for me at 23/20. Birkirkara have failed to score in two of their three matches this season and as mentioned drew at home with lowly Ulisses.
Birkirkara v West Ham – West Ham win to nil (23/20 Betway)