Steve Davies' tips for Sunday’s London Stadium showdown between West Ham and Wolves include Wolves holding firm and a busy afternoon for referee Chris Kavanagh.
West Ham are strong at home this season whereas Wolves’ away record needs improving – and that improvement starts this weekend.
West Ham vs Wolves best bets
Draw or Wolves & over 1.5 goals @ 11/10
Over 4.5 cards @ 21/20
James Ward-Prowse 1+ Shot on Target @ 1/1
O’Neil’s improvers can end London Stadium drought
Wolves have a poor recent record at the London Stadium, with three losses and not a single goal scored on their last three visits.
But those blemishes pre-date Gary O’Neil who has breathed life into the Old Gold this term and can demonstrate that his new-look Wolves are good enough to get something from this assignment.
Wolves head for the capital in decent enough nick. After losing four of their first five matches they have lost just three times since and this is the team who have beaten both Manchester City and Spurs and drawn with Newcastle and Aston Villa.
That’s a proper pedigree and even if all those results were achieved at Molineux they are still a better team and a better watch than last term.
David Moyes sent out quite a strong team against Freiburg in the Europa League on Thursday and their workload has been intense.
They are in better form than Wolves – one defeat in eight – but last week’s 5-0 loss against Fulham has to offer Wolves hope.
Old Gold are yellow perils
Gary O’Neil has certainly instilled some steel into Wolves, judging by their card count this season.
The Midlands’ club have racked up 45 yellow cards (bettered only by Chelsea and Sheffield United) and three reds.
Two of their stars, Nelson Semedo and Joao Gomes, make it into the top 10 highest foulers in this year’s Premier League.
West Ham, no angels themselves with 40 cards, can clearly put in the tackles with Edson Alvarez and Emerson well on their way to claiming the perhaps unwanted honour for most bookings.
That pair top the division with seven apiece, adding to the sense that referee Chris Kavanagh will be a busy man.
Take aim for a decent shots bet with JWP
James Ward-Prowse has proved a shrewd signing for David Moyes, adding plenty of steel in midfield but also that renowned eye for goal.
The ex-Southampton skipper enjoyed three really good goalscoring seasons at St Mary’s before accepting the chance to replace Declan Rice in West Ham’s engine room.
And he’s kept his scoring touch going with three so far to go alongside the handful of assists that have helped to propel West Ham into the top half.
Given dead-ball responsibilities, be sure Ward-Prowse will get sighters of Jose Sa’s goal and the evens he lands one effort on target looks a nice price. He averages 1.3 shots per game.