When looking at the fixture list back in the hazy days of June, freshly appointed West Ham boss Slaven Bilic would no doubt have eyed Bournemouth and Leicester at home early on with relish, while wincing at the prospect of Arsenal, followed by Liverpool, away.
Six points would arguably have been a realistic target for the Croat, especially given the 52-year win drought for visiting Hammers sides to points graveyard Anfield.
Sure enough, half a dozen points were collected, accept, but not from the aforementioned Boleyn Ground clashes.
Two magnificent displays at the Etihad and Anfield, built on defensive discipline and assertive counter attacking, saw Bilic’s charges leave as 2-0 and 3-0 victors respectively.
Since then, the east London outfit have also repaired some of the Boleyn Ground damage by strolling past a hapless Newcastle side 2-0 on Monday night.
But surely they couldn’t make it a hat-trick of massive scalps in their next assignment up at the Etihad?
Back on TV again in Saturday’s evening kick-off against pace-setting Manchester City – who are five from five in the Premier League – West Ham are still cast as huge 11/1 underdogs despite what’s gone before this season.
Even so, they’ll be plenty of punters wavering slightly over the home win in their accumulators, especially after City’s stars suffered a demoralising Champions League defeat in the week and were well shy of their best at Crystal Palace when sneaking a last-gasp winner before that.
While the win may be a big ask for Bilic’s men at a ground where West Ham have traditionally struggled, the Irons holding Manuel Pellegrini’s men to a draw, at 11/2, could be a zinger.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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