Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Prediction: Huddersfield vs West Ham

Verdict: West Ham to Win

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmakers: Bet 365

Mid-table Huddersfield host relegation-threatened West Ham for a clash between two sides who have largely struggled for goals this season. While the Terriers may feel safe in 11th spot in the table, they are actually just four points above the drop zone. The Hammers meanwhile are two points above 18th, making this a game of huge significance with regards to staying in the Premier League for the next campaign.

Huddersfield

The Terriers surprised many by winning their first two games, against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, following promotion to the Premier League for this season. Since then however David Wagner’s side have been wildly inconsistent, winning four, drawing six and losing 10 games. Intriguingly Huddersfield have been on the receiving end of some beatings, with the 0-4 home defeat to Tottenham and 5-0 dismantling by Arsenal springing to mind. At the same time however they managed a shock 2-1 win over Manchester United, perhaps highlighting the hit-and-miss nature of their play.

Despite sitting 11th in the league table, four points above the drop zone, the Terriers haven’t been doing anything particularly well this season. With 18 goals scored they are the fourth most ineffective attacking side in the league, as well as being the fourth worst defensive team with 35 goals conceded. Their saving grace has been the ability to grind out narrow wins or draws against teams lower than them in the table, and results such as the 1-0 wins over West Brom and Newcastle have brought in important points.

Team News

Jon Stankovic and Elias Kachunga are both definite absentees, with the latter not likely to be available until March.

Collin Quaner has a hamstring injury that will keep him out of this game, while Martin Cranie and Chris Lowe are doubtful.

Terence Kongolo, on loan from French champions Monaco, lacks match fitness.

West Ham

The Hammers are one of a number of Premier League sides that started this season disastrously, but have managed to turn their form around under a new manager. With just two wins from their first 15 games, the Irons were in serious trouble when David Moyes took over, but the former Manchester United coach made an immediate impact. Just one loss in their last seven games has allowed West Ham to climb as high as 15th, but they still sit just two points above the relegation zone.

While many of the statistical explanations for the West London side’s struggled extends from the reign of Slavan Bilic, there is little doubt that the Hammers have had issues at both ends of the pitch. Even under Moyes they have conceded 17 times in 11 games, which will need sorting out if they are to ensure survival. The veteran coach has at least sorted out their problems in front of goal, and his side have scored 14 times in that same 11-game period. Marko Arnautovic in particular has hit a good patch of form, with four goals in his last four appearances.

Team News

David Moyes is facing somewhat of an injury crisis, and will definitely be without Jose Fonte, Edimilson Fernandes, James Collins and Diafra Sakho.

Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell will face late fitness tests, while Sam Byram’s chances of playing are looking slim.

Lastly, Winston Reid’s groin injury picked up in the FA Cup clash with Shrewsbury could keep him out of this clash.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Huddersfield have scored just 18 league goals this season, and have blanked in their last two games.
  • The Terriers have won just one of their last six Premier League games.
  • West Ham have lost just once in their last seven league fixtures.
  • The Hammers have also scored in all but one of those games.
  • Marko Arnautovic has scored four goals in his last four league appearances for the Irons.

Conclusion

Despite Huddersfield’s league position, they really aren’t in great form, and their recent struggle for wins has coincided with an alarming lack of goals. While West Ham haven’t been much better for most of this season, the arrival of David Moyes has at least turned their form around somewhat. The Hammers should have enough to ease past the Terriers on Saturday, but don’t expect a high-scoring game.

Verdict: West Ham to Win

Best Odds: 21/10

Bookmakers: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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