WILLIE DUNCAN (@Willie_Duncan) takes a look at Saturday’s evening kick-off between Crystal Palace and West Ham, sharing his best betting angle.
Crystal Palace v West Ham United | Saturday 17.30 | BT Sport 1
West Ham are desperate to kick-start their campaign after a shocking start to the season and Slaven Bilic’s men travel to take on Crystal Palace on Saturday night.
Having garnered a paltry four points from their opening seven games, it is the worst start to a campaign that the east Londoners have endured since 1988/89 – and that season ended in relegation.
With players like Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio, it’s something of a stretch to suggest that West Ham’s Premier League bubble will burst at the end of this season, but Bilic will certainly be alarmed by his side’s dismal form and dreadful lack of defensive discipline.
The Hammers are certain to face another tough examination in south London, for Alan Pardew’s men are in fine form, having gone five Premier League matches without defeat.
The Eagles bounced back from a goal behind to claim a share of the spoils against Everton at Goodison Park before the international break and the decision to bring in Christian Benteke has, so far, worked wonders.
The big Belgian has scored three goals in five appearances for the Eagles since making the move from Anfield earlier this summer and the 25-year-old looks to be well on his way to rediscovering the form that saw him bang in 42 goals in 89 league games for Aston Villa.
Benteke is buzzing and his confidence will be through the roof after hitting a hat-trick for his country on Monday night – including the fastest ever goal in the history of competitive international football.
It may take more than 8.1 seconds for Benteke to bag one against the Hammers, but any striker worth his salt would be licking his lips at the prospect of lining up against the east London outfit at present, for West Ham have shipped 15 goals in their last five Premier League outings.
Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom for West Ham; the aforementioned Payet scored a sensational solo goal in the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough before the international break and the Hammers will be hoping for much more of that from their mercurial midfielder as the seek to start climbing the Premier League table.
However, Bilic’s outfit might struggle to start the ascent in south London, for they have lost four of their five competitive matches away from home so far this season and Palace could well pile on the agony at Selhurst Park.
Pardew’s men are without a win in their last seven league matches against London clubs, but the Eagles are excellent value to put that particular statistic to bed this weekend.
As such, it is the generous 11/9 (Marathon) quote for a home win that stands out ahead of Saturday’s showdown in south London.
Crystal Palace v West Ham – Crystal Palace to win (11/9 Marathon)