West Ham v Aston Villa: Lambert to begin with a high-scoring win

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Aston Villa did the double over West Ham the last time they were in the Premier League together and they can take the first step towards repeating the feat at Upton Park this season.

Villa are the underdogs to claim victory at 21/10, but the arrival of Paul Lambert to replace Alex McLeish has brought fresh vibrancy and optimism to supporters.

Lambert may have not brought in any stellar names in pre-season, but his use of the overseas transfer market has been a breath of fresh air.

Karim El Ahmadi is expected to provide the missing steel in midfield, winger Brett Holman has been a regular scorer in pre-season and Ron Vlaar can bring some authority to the defence.

Meanwhile, Darren Bent is back fit and looking sharp, while Stephen Ireland and Charles N’Zogbia are enjoying their football again.

When Villa did do the double over West Ham in 2011, this included a 3-0 win on the opening day of the season.

A repeat of this scenario can be backed at 25/1.

However, the best bet on offer at Upton Park may well prove the 4/6 that both teams are on target.

Norwich were hardly prolific at keeping clean sheets under Lambert last season and this attacking philosophy appears to have also rubbed off on Villa in pre-season.

Throw in that youngsters Ciaran Clark, Matt Lowton and Enda Stevens may all start in defence and there are goals to be had for West Ham.

West Ham have also scored in their last eight home games, netting at least two in all of the last five.

The Hammers have been well backed to beat Villa at 5/4 and it is the same price that they score a minimum of two goals in the encounter.

Punters looking for a big-priced correct score option could seemingly do worse than plump for a 3-2 Villa success at 25/1, with the game looking to have the promise of goals.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.