Tuesday’s first Premier League fixture sees two London clubs clash at Selhurst Park, as Crystal Palace welcome West Ham (6pm). The hosts go in search of not only their first win in four games, but their first goal in four, while the visitors will be hoping to extend their already impressive winning run.
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As things stand, Crystal Palace are in a reasonably respectable EPL position. They are seemingly in no dangers of dropping into the dread drop-zone, though that is thanks mainly to the inability of others, as opposed to their own achievements.
Tuesday’s hosts come into this fixture having won none of their last three in all competitions, while they’ve won just one of their last nine. They’ve lost three of their last six in the league. Moreover, two wins in their last six at home doesn’t exactly point towards progress.
Goals hard to come by
The main issue for Palace at present is their lack of goals. Roy Hodgson’s men, with their heavy reliance on the creativity and mercurial ability of talisman Wilfried Zaha, were not likely to make a name for themselves as a high scoring team this season. They certainly would have hoped to do better than they have.
Palace have scored 22 goals in 19 matches, which isn’t overly dreadful, though considering only six teams have scored less, such a total is hardly impressive. What’s more, in recent weeks, the goals have really dried up, with the Eagles failing to score in each of their last three league matches, scoring just three in their last seven.
Hammers on the up
While the hosts have floundered of late, West Ham have flourished, winning each of their last five matches in all competitions, three of which have been in the Premier League. Such a run has seen David Moyes’ men move up to a lofty seventh position. The Hammers are now just two points shy of the coveted top four, which given both their recent efforts and the rather open nature of the current campaign, might just be where they’re looking to end up.
Relevant records point towards visitors doing well
West Ham have lost three times away from home this season, but they are yet to be on the losing side against bottom-half opposition on the road. Moyes’ men have a pleasing record on the road against the bottom half. In fact, they’ve done very well, with six wins, two draws and just one loss, on their travels against sides outside of the current top four. Those seven travelling matches have yielded four clean sheets for the Hammers.
In contrast, Palace’s home record against top-half teams this season leaves plenty to be desired. When last in action at Selhurst Park, Palace edged out Southampton, winning by a goal to nil, though that is the only time this season that they’ve beaten top-half opposition on their own patch. Until then, their record against those that currently reside in the top half stood at two draws and two losses.
How do the underlying numbers compare?
As their recent lack of goals suggests, Palace have struggled for creativity at home. After nine games at Selhurst Park, Tuesday’s hosts average a measly 0.71 expected goals for per 90 minutes. This tells us that based on the quality of shots taken, they’ve been worthy of scoring not even a single goal per home match. At the other end of proceedings, they’ve surrendered an average of 1.28 expected goals. Such a number isn’t dreadful, but given their output, this figures certainly isn’t good.
By surrendering an average of 1.13 expected goals away from home this term, West Ham have done a slightly better job of halting their opponents than Crystal Palace have done at home. Furthermore, by averaging 1.43 expected goals for, they’ve been far more productive in the final third. This goes some way to explaining why Moyes’ men have scored more goals than Hodgson’s at home.
When it comes to shots, West Ham are also the more impressive team. On their travels, they average 11.44 shots for. Palace average only 7.77 shots for at home. Going the other way, West Ham have surrendered an average of 8.77 away from home. Palace have given up average of 12.11. Again, this goes some way to explaining why Palace have conceded more goals at home than West Ham have on the road.
Side with the visitors
At the prices with the chief online bookmakers, West Ham look a decent bet to get the better of a faltering Palace side, a side that has now gone over 270 minutes of Premier League football without a goal. The hosts may also be without their best player in Wilfried Zaha, who missed last time out, while the recent injury to Jeffrey Schlupp has further dented an already slacking attack. West Ham, who have no shortage of options have virtually a clean bill of health.
All in all, the visitors can better their hosts in most areas, as the above stats show, and punters can profit by siding with an away win in the betting. So the betting tip for this Crystal Palace vs West Ham preview is:
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Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.