West Ham - Hull City

West Ham have been noticing a slight improvement in past few games. Main reason is return of a key striker Carlton Cole who already reached his old shape and start scoring goals. The Hammers made very important victory against Birmingham (2-0 at home) in last round. The pressure has been decreased, but they’ll simply have to continue with collecting the points. Especially in six points games as this one is. Many other things have also been settled down. Zola’s position is safe again, club paid Curbishly and they won’t have to sell best players. The squad is even strengthened with few names. Benni McCarthy will miss the game because the knee problem, while his fellow striker Guillermo Franco is in contention to return. Gabbidon,Davenport, Boa Morte and Hine remain sidelined. Zola's side are unbeaten in their last four home games, keeping a clean sheet in the last three.

Hull City have collected the same number of points as today’s opponent and hold the 17th position with just one point far from relegation zone. They’re typical home side, from total of 24 points, 20 collected at home. On the road they’re the second worst team (after Burnley) with just four draws in 13 games. Tigers scored just 7 goals and conceded 31 and didn’t score in last three games on the road! The Tigers also have failed to score in seven of their last nine away games in the league. As for West Ham, this game is also decisive for Hull and I expected their intention to win all three points. That would, at the same time, make the defense line even more vulnerable. The biggest dilemma for boss Brown is should he include his “key of the keys”, Jimmy Bullard in this game. Midfielder has been absent for 11 weeks and still doesn’t train with full capacity. Geovanni remains sidelined, but midfielder Boateng is available after his red card at Blackburn was rescinded. Hull City have gone 18 games without an away win.

West Ham definitely have more potential than have been showing so far. Win vs. Birmingham decreased the pressure and give a wind in the back. They’ll be focused and fully motivated as this is a six point game. Hull simply lack in quality and while they at home compensate it with fanatical fighting, on the road don’t have a clue. Hosts are clear favorites here. Home win and again handicap as a gamble.


And another gamble. Michael Chopra (Cardiff) to score first.

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