Vieira misses welcome Norwich victory
Overall it’s not been too bad recently for Palace, who started December with a third straight defeat but have then thrown in two wins in a draw around a tough loss at Spurs with 10 men after Wilfried Zaha got sent off.
The Eagles have of course had their Covid problems – with manager Patrick Vieira testing positive on Christmas Day of all times and missing the Boxing Day loss at Spurs and win over Norwich 48 hours later. Assistant manager Osian Roberts could again take charge against West Ham.
Zaha can at least return from his suspension, but there’s still mystery over Conor Gallagher’s availability, with Roberts unwilling to disclose if he’s injured or has Covid after the on-loan Chelsea man missed the Norwich game.
With games being called off all over the place with no real criteria, there’s definitely a case for teams having to disclose just exactly who is injured and who has Covid as the cloak and dagger stuff does little for public confidence (and betting previewers!).
But with Zaha back, Odsonne Edouard playing well against the Canaries and Jean-Philippe Mateta even weighing in with a goal on just his second start of the season, Palace certainly have attacking option to go with.
Moyes celebrates a happy Hammers milestone
David Moyes could finally celebrate victory after five games in all competitions without a win as the Hammers battered Watford 4-1 to keep them well in the race for European places.
And he’ll be hoping to make it a quick six points as West Ham have a decent recent record against Palace with just two defeats in 13 league meetings (W5 D6), while they’ve won on four of their last seven visits to Selhurst Park.
Only the top three Premier League title chasers have a better away record than West Ham and as Moyes celebrates two years in the job and Declan Rice makes his 150th league appearance, it’s clear that the manager has the club moving in the right direction.
They’re still 17/2 to get a top 4 spot and Champions League place behind the other top six sides, but they’re still in there fighting and with wins over Liverpool and Chelsea have already proved they can mix it with the big boys.
Palace underdogs despite solid home form
It’s an intriguing betting heat this one with West Ham pegged as away favourites at 2.35/4 and Palace priced at 3.259/4. The draw is 3.55/2 and always popular in these close call games.
And each side is playing to their strengths with the Hammers having been better on the road then at the London Stadium, but also Palace being a different side on home turf than away – winning 17 of their 23 points at Selhurst Park and scoring twice as many while conceding only half as much.
These two rank third and fourth in terms over over 2.5 goals in matches, having 12 of their 19 going higher and making the overs favourite here at 1.9210/11 but probably still worth backing.
As is both teams to score, with each of the last nine league meetings seeing both of them find the net – only three fixtures have had longer streaks – so while 1.748/11 on it happening again won’t make you rich it’s a must-have in your Bet Builders.
And if you’re an in-play fan then wait for the first goal and lay the scorers as recent history suggests they just won’t win. The team opening the scoring has zero wins in those last nine games – with four defeats and five draws.
Back Bowen to hit the assist bullseye
Watch out to see if Gallagher makes an appearance in the line-up but since Palace are playing that one close to their chests we have to look elsewhere in the player markets – and for the home side you have to factor in Zaha who is 2.89/5 to score on his return to the side.
Edouard has a goal and three assists in his last three games while Mateta is 3.39/4 to double his season tally.
After a few blanks, the Hammers have hit seven goals in their last three games and there’s a trio of players who should be heavily involved in all their attacking work here.
Michael Antonio loves London derbies after scoring five and assisting six in his last 12, while Said Benrahma has scored in his last two games and if you look at his stats he tends to score and assist in bunches – so the 5.04/1 on him to bag here looks a big price considering.
Jarrod Bowen has been a big influence on West Ham recently though, and he’ll be unlucky to keep producing the numbers of goals and assists as he does without getting an England shout sooner or later.
Bowen has three goals and seven assists in the league this season – only Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah have more – yet he’s still a bigger price to lay one on than to score himself. Take him to register an assist at 4.3100/30.