PREMIER LEAGUE expert Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) delivers his verdict on Monday night's match-up between West Ham and Huddersfield from the London Stadium.
West Ham v Huddersfield | Monday 11th September 2017, 20:00 | Sky Sports
It feels like a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ West Ham relieve beleaguered manager Slaven Bilic of his duties. In all honesty, I am surprised he has not already departed.
The Hammers started last season very poorly and it felt like the Croatian was one game from the sack for most of last term.
I believe the reason he is still in a job is his ability to win precisely this type of game. Incredibly, his side secured six 1-0 home victories last season, with five of those coming against sides who were fighting at the bottom end of the table for most of the campaign (Swansea, Hull, Bournemouth, Burnley and Sunderland).
Since I began penning this article on Friday, West Ham's price has drifted to such an extent that they are now a best price of 53/50 (Marathon) for the win. I am not sure if that is due to the news that Andre Ayew and Manuel Lanzini will be missing or the market simple believing that they were too short in the first place.
Huddersfield, for their part, have started the season superbly and are yet to concede a goal. Indeed, such was their dominance in the first half against Southampton that they can count themselves unfortunate not to have a 100% record.
Still, manager David Wagner is not getting carried away and is braced for a long, hard season.
The betting angles
I expect the Yorkshire side to take a cautious approach and given how tense the atmosphere is likely to be on Monday evening, I would not put anyone off the 0-0 half time score line at 15/8.
That said, I am convinced that the Hammers will eventually edge it so would rather simply back a home victory at the aforementioned price. Additionally, given West Ham’s love of a tight home win, I am also going to back 1-0 to the East Londoners at 7/1 with Bet365.
Looking at the best value elsewhere, I have no doubt Javier Hernandez will appeal to many at 7/5 in the Anytime Goalscorer market. I, however, like the look of Michael Antonio at 3/1 with Paddy Power in the same event.
The Englishman has scored 17 times in 57 Premier League games for West Ham and given that the absence of Lanzini and Ayew, is likely to mean extra onus on him, I believe this represents great value.
West Ham v Huddersfield – West Ham to win (53/50 Marathon)
West Ham v Huddersfield – West Ham to win 1-0 (7/1 Bet365)
West Ham v Huddersfield – Michael Antonio to score anytime (3/1 Paddy Power)