WEST HAM host Crystal Palace in Saturday's evening Premier League kick-off. Chris Clark (@ChrisClark1975) shares his verdict.
West Ham v Crystal Palace | Saturday 5th October 2019, 17:30 | Sky Sports
West Ham have eyes on a top-six spot this season, and who can blame them. The Hammers finally have a reliably centre forward and have excellent attacking midfielders in Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.
With Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd inconsistent, there is a real opportunity for the likes of West Ham and Leicester to grasp the chance this season. If a side is going to make the top-six, then beating sides like Crystal Palace at home is a must.
Palace are a nuggety side, who if you don't score in the opening 20 minutes, then you're looking at hard tight game. Roy Hodgson's men have only conceded seven league goals so far this season, and that includes a 4-0 drubbing away to Spurs.
West Ham meanwhile have only scored 10 goals in seven league games. It points to a tight contest at the London Stadium, however if those West Ham front men click then the Hammers should come out on top. What might assist the hosts is Palace captain Luka Milivojevic being suspended having collected five bookings already, and the Serb is integral to Palace's plans away, sitting in front of the Eagles back four.
Whilst West Ham look good going forward, they were dealt a blow last weekend when Lukasz Fabianski was ruled out for a few months with injury. His replacement, Roberto, in the brief exposure he has had to the first team looks like a definite number two, and is a huge downgrade.
I would have recommended West Ham to win a tight match ‘to nil’, but with Roberto between the sticks, you can't rule out Palace netting. Another factor in West Ham's favour is Hodgson is yet to win away to the Hammers in seven visits. Also, the hosts won their last three London derbies here.
It's all pointing to West Ham isn't it. West Ham to win and Under 2.5 Goals is 21/10 with Paddy Power, but with Roberto in-goal, I'm plumping for the home side to triumph and Both Teams To Score at an appealing 3/1 with Betfair.
Andriy Yarmolenko is a man in form, and Patrick Van Aanholt (who will be his direct opponent on Saturday), is better going forward. Yarmolenko has two goals in his last two Premier League appearances, and if he can keep clear of injuries, is a great player, as proved by his time at Dortmund.
SkyBet have an intriguing price boost for this match, with Yarmolenko to score and West Ham to win at 9/2. With Yarmolenko up against Van Aanholt, can the Palace defender stop Yarmolenko from cutting in on his left foot and curling one in? I don't think so.
All aboard the West Ham train!