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Antony Heath 15th Dec 2012 - 17:57

Clarets to Hammer out win in Wild West battle

West Brom v West Ham - 16:00 - live on Sky Sports 1


The Baggies hit the dizzying heights of third in the Premier League in early December but since then three straight defeats have taken some of the shine off their mightily impressive start as they have slipped to sixth. They look to get back on track as they welcome a West Ham side that have won just once in their last five, a shock 3-1 win over Chelsea, and seemingly have more injured players than fit ones.

West Brom (Evens) will sense they have the perfect chance to get their season up and running again as they look to take advantage of a shorthanded Hammers team that don't travel well. The Baggies have been mightily strong as home where they have picked up 18 points from a possible 24 and have only conceded six in the process they should have enough to overrun West Ham, for them to win to nil is 9/4 and a could be a good shout at the price if Ben Foster returns in goal.

The Baggies do have significant injury worries ahead of the game, just not as many as West Ham, with manager Steve Clarke revealing his has six doubts but didn't go as far as revealing who. It's fair to say Clarke will be eager to show the West Ham hierarchy what he can do after the new owners sacked him, along with Zola, when they took over. The injuries should mean more changes to a Baggies side aiming to avoid a fourth straight loss. The ever consistent Shane Long (5/1 First/Last, 5/4 Anytime) should lead the line along with Odemwingie (5/1 First/Last, 5/4 Anytime) between them they have the ability to cause a patched up West Ham defence problems.

The Hammers (11/4, draw 12/5) have been really badly hit by the injury curse and George McCartney is the latest major doubt for the trip to the Hawthorns after jarring his knee and Sam Allardyce will yet again be shuffling his pack. To be fair, and despite their recent form, the squad has coped well with the constant chopping and changing and the result and performance against Chelsea showed that they can compete.

Carlton Cole (15/2 First/Last, 9/4 Anytime) has started the last two games and he's really taking advantage of Andy Carroll's absence and staking his claim to keep his place when other strikers return from the treatment room. If the Hammers expect to pick up anything he is going to have to keep delivering along with Kevin Nolan (8/1 First/Last, 11/4 Anytime). The pair can really be the thorns at the Hawthorns and take help their side take advantage of the Baggies blip.

I think there's definitely goals to come in this one and so over 2.5 goals (10/11) and Both teams to score (7/10) should both be solid bankers and I fancy a patched up West Ham side to win a high scoring game as the West Brom defence has finally started creaking and is letting a few more in. Small stakes bets on West Ham 2-1 (11/1), 3-1 (33/1) and 3-2 (40/1) would be my picks for a correct score as I fancy the Hammers to keep the Baggies stalling. The first goal will be crucial for West Ham as the Baggies have recorded just one point from losing positions, a joint league low, which may hint at a lack of character when falling behind.

Plus, as with every Premier League game, we have enhanced an anytime wincast for each team; on the West Brom front we've enhanced Shane Long to score in a West Brom win from 21/10 to 7/2 and Kevin Nolan scoring in a West Ham win has been boosted from 11/2 to 9/1!


Top Bets:

West Ham (draw no bet) @ 7/4

Over 2.5 goals @ 10/11

Worth a Punt:

West Ham 3-1 @ 33/1

Shane Long AND Carlton Cole to score anytime @ 13/2



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