West Ham - Wolverhampton

Six pointer game. Despite the decent team quality, Hammers are first above the line and have three points more. Zola has got an ultimatum from the board to get 4 points in next two games (Stoke next) to safe his job. Some rumors say he’s gone anyway (Hughes as successor), but I’ll wouldn’t consider it seriously. He has good rating in the dressing room and I believe players will give everything to keep his boss. West Ham have four consecutive defeats. Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd on the road were expected epilogues, while only failure came at home vs Bolton (1-2). They conceded two fast goals after two big errors by defensive line, dominated rest of the game, but lost at the end. At the same time, Bolton are the only side from the bottom crew that West Ham didn’t win. Another important thing is Zola rested his keys, Cole and Diamanti vs. Chelsea, Cole came on in the 2nd half vs. Arsenal and skipper Parker will play tonight after a break. No other injury concerns for Zola. West Ham are unbeaten at home in their last six matches against Wolves (4 wins, 2 draws ).


Oppositely from West Ham, Wolves play over their real capabilities. Considering their team quality, (in my opinion) they should relegate. They usually score after set pieces, while lack of creativity and fighting spirit are main characteristics of their play. They’re, however, in a good shape. Four points from last two games (both away), win vs. Burnley 2-1 and a draw vs. Villa 2-2 in a small derby. They’ve increased their chances to keep the status, will have less pressure than Hammers tonight, but I think they also see their chance for all 3 points. Boss Mick McCarthy has no injury worries and is expected to name an unchanged side for the seventh successive match. Problem could be (beside less quality) a possible fatigue. Wolves' only win in their last 15 visits to Upton Park was in March 1978.


West Ham will be fully motivated. They’ll be under a pressure, but I think they used to cope with it (Birmingham 2-0 at home, same circumstances). Hammers are also more rested, possess more quality and play at home. They don’t belong down there. Home win for me.


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