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Nic Ladds 22nd Mar 2010 - 23:01

Relegation six-pointer at Upton Park

In August, this match would probably have been billed as a one-sided affair as West Ham had just finished a comfortable ninth and Wolves had just been promoted.

This season has not quite gone the way West Ham would have hoped though, they actually sit below Wolves the table, just one place and three points above the relegation zone.

Just one away win all season has left the Hammers facing a surely unthinkable relegation scare, if not for the even poorer form of Burnley, Hull and Pompey below them they would be in big trouble.

With massive financial troubles, relegation would put one of England's most historic clubs on the verge of collapse, which is why I think they will win here. The manager, players and fans all know that a win here is vital; three points would see them leapfrog Wolves and move six points clear of Burnley.

Wolves certainly showed they are no pushovers in their last away match and I do think they will fight just as hard as West Ham.  13 of their 28 points have come away from home and they have scored more goals.

West Ham (7/10) have played, and lost to, the top three clubs and Bolton in their last four matches so confidence is low. Gianfranco Zola will take some stock in the stat that shows they haven't lost this fixture on home turf in over 30 years so the history is certainly with them.

Wolves (10/3) will want to build on the four points they have picked up in their last two matches, both away from Molineux. Mick McCarthy will be striving to improve their goalscoring record; his team are the lowest scorers in the whole league with just 25 goals.

On the first day of this season, West Ham went to Wolves and won 2-0 which is 7/1 to repeat itself. That must seem a long time ago for Hammers fans as they have won just five games since then, none away.

West Ham will also be boosted by the return of influential midfielder Scott Parker who has shaken off a knock. Carlton Cole could start, he has come through two substitute appearances unscathed since returning from injury which is a massive boost and he is 4/1 to score first.

Mick McCarty will hope to name an unchanged side for an impressive seventh successive match, there are no injury concerns for him other than long-term absentee Michael Kightly

I think West Ham have enough quality in the ranks to see off Wolves, other than Kevin Doyle (7/1 first goal) with six goals and centre-back Jody Craddock (12/1 anytime) with five, hardly any other players have more than one. They have had a real problem putting the ball in the net and have hardly been water tight at the other end.

This leads me to believe West Ham could win to nil (6/4) or in a similar vein; the home side to keep a clean sheet is 11/10.

I would recommend the 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines, 11/2 and 7/1 respectively, but whatever the result - it will surely have a big hand where these clubs ply their trade next season, every point counts at this late stage.

 

 
 
 

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