West Ham slashed in price for Premier League top six berth


They may have faded after a bright start last season, but for punters, West Ham’s strong early pace this time round is set to continue all the way until May.

Slaven Bilic’s men were 12/1 to finish the campaign in the top six first thing on Monday morning, but steady support throughout the week has seen them cut into 7/1, before being slashed further into their current price of 5/1.

After nine games in 2014-15, the same number of fixtures they have completed this term, the Hammers were sat in fourth place with 16 points.

Fast forward 12 months and the east London side are in exactly the same position in the table, this time with one more point.

However, Hammers fans will be all too aware of how it can all go wrong later in the season.

Under Sam Allardyce the Irons fell apart after Christmas, winning just four of 21 games before falling back down to 12th.

A year on though, they look in a much better position to maintain that challenge.

Firstly, they have already played four of last term’s top 10 away from home. Whereas a year ago, a trip to Old Trafford was the only time they had taken a top-half team from the previous campaign on their own patch.

Secondly, the signings Slaven Bilic made over the summer look to have worked wonders.

Dimitri Payet will probably go down as one of the best pieces of business by any Premier League club in the window, arriving for €12m from Marseille, and has started in excellent fashion, contributing with three assists and five goals for the capital club.

The likes of Manuel Lanzini, Victor Moses, Pedro Obiang and Angelo Ogbonna all look to be an improvement on what was available to Big Sam last term.

And with eight first team players arriving, compared to five departing the Boleyn Ground before the start of the campaign, any injuries, of which the likes of Enner Valencia, Alex Song and Winston Reid are currently suffering will have less of an impact on the playing squad.

Saturday will be the acid test as to how far the team have come under their Croatian manager, with struggling champions Chelsea making the short hop across London.

Victory against Mourinho’s men, for which they are priced at 13/5, could see the odds on a new side breaching the top six being slashed yet again.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.