West Ham’s famous 3-1 home victory over Chelsea in early December suddenly feels like a long time ago. Since then, they’ve picked only one point up from four games, most recently losing 1-0 away to lowly Reading.
After a promising start saw ambitious West Ham fans looking up the table, the resulting blip has the more nervous Hammers peaking back downwards, where only six points separate them from the bottom three.
Having said all that, they do have a game in hand over most of the league and a victory would see them leapfrog their opponents Norwich, a side whose fans were also confident of avoiding the drop after a confident start under new manager Chris Hughton.
However, they too may begin looking nervously at the drop zone should they fail to pick up any points at Upton Park, a result that would be their fourth defeat in a row.
Their recent loss at home to Champions Manchester City may not seem so bad at first look – a 3-4 reverse – but given that City scored two second-half goals with only ten men, their defensive frailties are more clearly exposed.
Stand-in keeper Mark Bunn was arguably at fault for a couple of City’s goals and it’s worth noting that Norwich are yet to keep a clean sheet in number one John Ruddy’s absence.
West Ham should be confident of ending their run without a goal then, but will be without leading scorer Kevin Nolan through suspension, with Andy Carroll already missing through injury. Instead they’ll look to Carlton Cole (5/1 to score first) and four-goal striker Modibo Maiga (7/1) to find the goals in his absence.
Norwich too, despite their recent troubles, will be sure of troubling Jussi Jaaskelainen. They’ve failed to score only once in their last ten games, and scored three against City despite missing top scorer Grant Holt. Holt returns here and is 7/1 to score first, while both teams to score is available at 8/11.
With both teams seemingly evenly matched and keen to get some points back on the board, a score draw looks a solid bet at 10/3, with 1-1 available at 6/1 and 2-2 14/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.