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Michael Taylor 15th Mar 2009 - 15:41

Football comes first for Hammers

Life at Upton Park is suddenly looking bright. The Tevez saga is over; potential buyers are lining up to stop the Icelandic government from owning the club and in Gianfranco Zola they have one of the brightest managerial prospects in world football.

And when the Premier League's bottom club, West Brom visit East London on Monday night it looks like Hammers fans can celebrate their up-turn in fortunes with a comfortable stroll at the Park.

The Claret and Blues have certainly not had it easy in recent times but with a new generation of players coming through their eternally impressive youth system and an exciting brand of football, success could soon be on the horizon.

The likes of Freddie Sears and Jack Collison (although Collison is out injured for this game) have been sensational since coming in from the youth set-up while Carlton Cole (another who is out for the West Brom game) has shown he has the potential to be an international striker.

And with Robert Green, Mark Noble, Matthew Upson and Scott Parker playing regularly, the Hammers don't just have a solid spine they also rely on English talent to get results.

The same cannot be said of Tony Mowbray's disappointing Baggies who, all too frequently this season, have found that good attacking options are useless if your defence is left wide open time and time again.

Throstles fans have had to endure defensive calamities all season and, whether caused by a lack of communication or individual errors, it has just been one long nightmare, especially away from the Hawthornes.

One thing that can be said is that on an offensive front they have shown a lot of promise.

Marc-Antoine Fortune has looked dangerous since his arrival from Nancy while Chris Brunt, Robert Koren and James Morrison all have the ability to create chances but, in a division where any mistake gets punished, West Brom have simply not been good enough.

There seems to be little chance that things will improve this week as well, despite the absences of Collison and Cole.

West Ham look too strong and are good value at 8/11 to further punish the Baggies - there seems to be little value in the 4/1 about a West Brom win given they have just one win away from home this season.

I also fancy the Hammers to win convincingly with David Di Michele and Scott Parker being the men to make the difference.

Parker is consistently great and should be right at the front of Fabio Capello's thoughts when he selects his next England team. Whether he can get on the find the net is questionable given his preference for doing the 'donkey' work and giving West Ham the platform to build attacks from, however at 6/1 to score anytime he does look value.

As does Di Michele, who has impressed since Zola's arrival at the club, and he is 11/2 to score the first goal of the game. He will start as West Ham's main striker with Cole unavailable and has shown a good eye for goal when he has had a chance.

In terms of correct score betting much will depend on how West Brom perform on the day.

Their last Premier League match at Everton saw everything that is good and bad about the Baggies as they constantly troubled a very strong Toffees' defence but ultimately sloppiness cost them dear.

If they can repeat some of the football they played in that game though they should manage to score but I just think West Ham will score more.

With this in mind I think the 11/1 about a 3-1 Hammers win looks extremely interesting and would be a fitting end to a week in which football finally became West Ham's main focus.

West Ham v West Brom - view the betting


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