West Ham v Wolves
Scott Parker has been instrumental to West Ham this season and keeping him at the club is key for their survival hopes.
"It would be wise to wait for the team news to come in on this one and if both Scott Parker and Mark Noble make it into the starting line-up then I’d be happy to put my money on the home side. Otherwise I’d be inclined to leave the match odds market well alone."
With many games falling foul to the weather the winner of this game could take a significant jump up the table and in turn gain a great psychological boost. Jaymes Monte looks at where best to put your hard earned this Sunday. Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ [2.22]
If even a small portion of the transfer rumours circling Upton Park turn out to be true then this could turn out to be an extremely difficult second half of the season for The Hammers. The entire backbone of the team - Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole - have all been rumoured by one publication or another to be on their way out and without two or more of them I would say they are a shoe-in for relegation.
Getting as many points as possible on the board before they leave could be paramount to survival and a home tie against Wolves provides the perfect opportunity.
Spirit and determination are certainly not lacking amongst Gianfranco Zola's men, which was shown in taking a point from Chelsea and leading Arsenal until very late on in recent weeks. However, confidence is low and although it is clear that they are trying to play football they are a little too one dimensional at times and seem to lack a cutting edge too often.
Noble and Parker are expected to return from injury for this crucial game and in doing so would provide a massive boost to Zola. Guillermo Franco is also available again after serving a one match suspension and I expect he will go straight into the starting line-up here.
For Wolves Christophe Berra and Kevin Doyle are expected to return having missed the narrow F.A. cup victory over Tranmere, that means that we can expect to see a similar side to the one which was beaten by Liverpool and Manchester City.
Mick McCarthy doesn't have any similar worries about losing players in the transfer window, largely because none of them have really done anything spectacular this season in order to attract any interest. So far it has been a season which has meandered along and their defeat of Spurs is the only occasion where a result or performance has even threatened to raise an eyebrow in surprise.
The reverse of this fixture was played out on the opening day of the season when West Ham emerged as 2-0 victors. Another victory for The Hammers can be backed at [1.95] here, whilst Wolves are available at [4.9] and the draw is trading at [3.5].
It would be wise to wait for the team news to come in on this one and if both Parker and Noble make it into the starting line-up then I'd be happy to put my money on the home side. Otherwise I'd be inclined to leave the match odds market well alone.
The goals scored column hasn't exactly been bulging for either side in recent weeks, in fact not at all for Wolves this season, and for that reason we are being offered a price of [2.2] on there being over 2.5 goals and [1.8] on unders. However, I believe there are often some good opportunities to be had in going against the trends and for me this is a prime example.
It is a game which both sides will believe that they can win and might even think that they need to, therefore I expect both to throw caution to the wind and go all out for the victory. So backing over 2.5 goals is a big play for me here and I might even have a nibble at the [4.2] on over 3.5 goals. And although I won't be wading in with large stakes I also like the look of West Ham to score in both halves at [3.3] and the same bet for Wolves at [7.2].
Financial constraints at Upton Park mean that West Ham need to win these sorts of games before the apparently inevitable loss of players in this transfer window. Those of you with your fingers on the pulse could do worse than back West Ham to be relegated at [5.0] if those exits begin to materialise.