Go Low in Monday Showdown

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: November 19 2012, 20:20 GMT

Allardyce: Tightened up his West Ham side

2.5pts under 1.5 goals at 12/5 (Stan James)

West Ham v Stoke (2000GMT)

Two sides from the middle of the Premier League pack meet at the Boleyn on Monday evening and with both having made efficient starts as the season begins to settle down a little bit.

West Ham moved into the top six ahead of the weekend after what they described as their best performance so far as they defeated Newcastle 1-0 on Tyneside.

The Hammers from years gone by were renowned for their free-flowing, attacking football which was pleasing on the eye but Sam Allardyce has switched the emphasis slightly and made them a much tougher unit to dominate.

Despite promotion from the Championship, they conceded over 40 goals last year but a tightening of the belt at the back in general - despite the odd anomaly - has seen them breached just 11 times in the league.

Funnily enough, their rivals have let in just 10 goals so the obvious overriding feeling is that there is going to be little given away at either end.

Both sides kept five clean sheets so far and the betting angle clearly looks to involve the total goals markets.

I think that under 2.5 goals is a virtual gimme at 8/11 but it could pay to be slightly bolder and tackle a wager on under 1.5 goals at the 12/5 on offer with Stan James.

I don't think it will be too long before Andy Carroll finally breaks his duck for West Ham but the success at Newcastle did come at a cost with injuries picked up by Yossi Benayoun, Matt Jarvis and George McCartney.

The former duo provide width and with both described as extremely doubtful for the game, a good portion of the attacking threat for the hosts is going to be missing.

So this could well be resolved by an odd goal from either side via a setpiece, with perhaps Carroll proving the difference after all.

Verdict: West Ham 1 Stoke 0

  • This game is being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports

  • Preview posted at 1145 GMT on 17/11/2012.