West Ham looking better now

February 11th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

It took Bristol City a long time to wear down Rotherham in a poor match at Ashton Gate last weekend but they got there in the end to keep our good run going. The profit was modest because Crystal Palace were humbled at home by Sunderland in the surprise scoreline (0-4) of the day.

Many believe Chelsea are home and hosed in the Premier League but experience tells me there will be a dip at some stage and the gap will narrow. Burnley are so good at home that 2/5 abut the Blues makes no appeal at all, while I’d also be wary of touching the Liverpool-Tottenham game. At some stage Liverpool have to get their act together again and, fired up by Mane, this could be the game to do it. Spurs were my original fancy for the title and I still think they could make a go of it but being in two Cup competitions at this stage doesn’t help.

If Palace have trouble behind the scenes they will find things pretty difficult at Stoke but this has the look of a tense, low-scoring affair and is best watched.

So, the games to look at may be West Ham v West Brom and Sunderland v Southampton.

The Hammers and the Baggies have both improved significantly of late and it’s a hard game to call but I believe home advantage may tilt things West Ham’s way. Andy Carroll’s return to full fitness is giving teams trouble and the crowd has started believing again. As a Tony Pulis team, West Brom will be disciplined and very hard to break down but I see WEST HAM having much of the possession here and they may have the edge.

After looking quite safe only a few weeks ago, Southampton and Bournemouth are now looking over their shoulder and the Cherries will definitely be in the dog-fight if Man City turn it on in the Monday game. Eddie Howe is a fine manager but Bournemouth’s problem is that they have relatively little reserve strength outside the 11 or 12 he hopes are fit each week. As I mentioned last time, we see now why he instantly exited the FA Cup at Millwall.

Southampton are a better team than Sunderland and if they play as they did in the second half against Swansea they will beat them. But the Saints really should have found an experienced centre-back when Fonte left and Van Dijk damaged his ankle because Yoshida and Stephens is not a partnership to see them through the campaign. The hastily-summoned Uruguayan Caceres is bound to be rusty after a long absence but he may plug a few gaps when ready.

I don’t know why the bookmakers habitually offer SOUTHAMPTON at cramped odds  –  it’s a mystery to those of us who watch them most weeks  –  but even-money will have to do. Everyone at St Mary’s knows that victory here will make relegation highly unlikely and the next fortnight can be given over to League Cup Final preparations.

BOLTON have slipped a little in recent weeks but still look a good bet for promotion from League One. 8/11 with Betfred is acceptable as opposed to generous when they meet an in-form Walsall but I think this is another match where home advantage may be significant.

WEST HAM 15 units at 6/5 to beat West Brom

SOUTHAMPTON 20 units at evens to beat Sunderland

BOLTON 15 units at 8/11 to beat Walsall

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