England’s top teams have swept aside West Ham this season so back English Premier League championship contender Arsenal to hammer the home side at odds of 1.62 with Coral.
West Ham has scored only 14 goals in its 17 English Premier League matches as it struggles to find the back of the net with England striker Andy Carroll on the sidelines. Only bottom-of-the-ladder Sunderland has won fewer games than West Ham and the Hammers have been particularly poor versus the division’s heavyweights. West Ham has played five of the Christmas top six once for one draw and four losses. Bear in mind that West Ham’s one draw came against Newcastle before the Toon Army started to climb the ladder. And each of West Ham’s losses versus the top-flight’s powerhouses has seen the Hammers concede a minimum of three goals. West Ham has leaked goals freely against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City and it has not been able to fire back.
One should not rush to back football teams at odds on away from home but the case for supporting Arsenal away to West Ham is strong. Arsenal has scored in all bar one of its last 20 English Premier League road games and West Ham’s attack will not put the defence of the Gunners under anything like the same pressure that Manchester City’s offence did at Etihad Stadium when the north Londoners played away last.
Dropping down to the English Championship and Derby is in such fine fettle that the Rams are well backing at odds of 2.30 with Paddy Power to beat Huddersfield. Derby manager Steve McClaren polarises opinion but the club record of the former England boss is, by and large, excellent. Not even McClaren’s toughest critics could deny that he has made a positive impact on Derby since succeeding Nigel Clough, with the Rams winning nine of their 11 league matches under their new chief and their only slip ups occurring in a home derby against Birmingham and a road trip to Queens Park Rangers. Also, one should not gloss over the fact that Derby fought back from 1-4 down at home to Ipswich after McClaren, whose reign had not started, walked into the Rams dressing room and delivered a great half-time pep talk. Derby drew 4-4.
Huddersfield is destined to finish the English Championship in the third quarter of the ladder because the Terriers are not sufficiently good to challenge for a promotion spot and they are not sufficiently bad to get dragged into the bottom six. Huddersfield has gone three games without a win and each of its last three home non-derbies has ended in tears.
Finally, backing under two and a half goals in the English Championship clash between Charlton and Brighton at odds of 1.65 with BetVictor appeals because the Addicks and the Seagulls are near the foot of the division’s ladder for goals per match after 21 rounds of the competition.
Remarkably, England Championship games featuring Charlton are averaging 2.05 goals and the same average applies to matches featuring Brighton. No side in England’s second tier has scored fewer goals than Charlton and the Addicks have been tremendous friends of under punters. Two of Charlton’s 21 league games have been goalless and 14 of them have gone under two and a half goals. Brighton has taken part in a division-leading four goalless matches and 13 of its 21 league games have gone under two and a half goals. That Charlton – the lower scoring of the two teams – has home advantage is a positive for the suggested bet as Charlton’s home league matches are averaging 1.80 goals and the away league games of Brighton have a mean of 1.4 goals.
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