Weblog: The football punter

Hammers can keep their fans happy at Seagulls

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 8pm Friday

West Ham made a dreadful start to the season but the Hammers are happier now and they can continue their recent run of excellent results by beating Brighton at the Amex.

Manuel Pellegrini found his methods being questioned after they opened the season with four straight defeats, but their 3-1 win over Everton on September 16 seems to have been a turning point.

The Hammers held Chelsea to a goalless stalemate before beating Manchester United 3-1 and between those matches a makeshift side stuffed Macclesfield 8-0 in the EFL Cup.

There could be external reasons why West Ham have accumulated seven points from the last nine available as Everton were carrying injuries, Chelsea were exhausted having arrived back from Europa League duty less than 48 hours before the London derby and United's players seem to have lost the will to play for boss Jose Mourinho.

However, it was a pretty decent Hammers performance in the 3-1 loss to Arsenal when they counter-attacked well and confidence is now flowing through their veins.

West Ham's front three of Marko Arnautovic flanked by Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson is particularly dangerous and the midfield has looked better since Jack Wilshere's injury.

Wilshere and Mark Noble together was nowhere near mobile enough for the Premier League, but Declan Rice is sitting in front of the defence and Pedro Obiang's much-needed athleticism has been a game-changer.

Mourinho made reference to the excellence of centre-back Issa Diop after he dealt well with Romelu Lukaku in West Ham's 3-1 victory over United and this looks a decent time for them to be beside the seaside as Brighton continue to miss Pascal Gross.

That injury is a big deal for boss Chris Hughton, who does not possess a like-for-like replacement in such a crucial position.

As well as missing a player who is a major part of Albion's attacking plans, Brighton seem to have forgotten the art of defending, such a key factor in the Seagulls' successful campaign last season.

Brighton are without a Premier League clean sheet this term and have conceded twice in all bar one game, although even that ended in a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Albion have had it tough with the fixtures and little can be read into last week's 2-0 loss at Manchester City but less easy to forgive are their 2-2 draws after needing to coming from behind against Fulham and Southampton.

West Ham draw no bet

The Football Site

Like on Facebook

Google +1


Match in Focus

20:00 Mo 10Dec SKY

Everton v Watford

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Everton have been drawing at half-time in 12 of their 15 league games this season
Expert verdict
There is a strong trend towards Everton being level at the break and the Toffees may well need to show patience if they are to give Marco Silva a win against his former club. Watford made a flying start but have picked up only eight points since the September international break and Everton can eventually find a way through.