West Ham vs Derby: Another home headache for Allardyce
At first glance, Saturday’s televised teatime Championship clash looks like a mismatch, but there are reasons to believe that Derby will become the latest side to frustrate West Ham in front of their expectant fans.
The 7/4 title challengers, who sit second in the table, five points shy of Southampton yet three clear of third-placed Cardiff, are 4/9 favourites on account of a run of four wins in five that contrasts with Derby’s record of one in nine.
However, they have won only four of their eight home encounters, several of those stumbles coming against clubs in unimpressive form such as Ipswich and Bristol City. In addition, three of the four victories came by one-goal margins.
The Irons also enter this fixture on the back of successive away triumphs at Hull and Coventry, which is notable because they are yet to win three on the spin under Sam Allardyce.
On each of the three previous occasions that they have had a chance to complete a hat-trick, they have been held, and Derby are 16/5 to keep that trend alive with a point this weekend.
The Rams have lost on just one of their last three trips to east London and that was courtesy of a late Carlton Cole (4/1 to score first) goal in 2007-08, the season remembered as the most humiliating in their history.
While West Ham are happy to grind out away points, Allardyce has stuck by his pledge to entertain at home, resulting in a few gripping games at the Boleyn, namely the 2-2 draw with Leeds and 4-3 and 3-2 victories over Portsmouth and Leicester.
Both teams to score appeals at 10/11, while those looking for meatier odds can find 5/1 on it being a score draw.
The return to fitness of experienced Derby duo Shaun Barker and Paul Green should ensure that the visitors remain calm when facing a likely barrage in the closing stages, and 2/1 is a big price on the first half featuring more goals.