There is plenty to like about the weekend action in the English Premier League. But nothing floats our boat quite like West Ham’s home contest against Huddersfield Town on Monday.
It is possible that sentence has never been uttered before. Not even by West Ham fans hoping for an ‘easy’ three points. But we’re talking in the context of value, of course. Huddersfield are it. West Ham are not.
The Terriers, as they are known, have made an easy and breezy start to life in the Premier League where it is supposed to be hard and hurricane. They won their first two fixtures and then drew at home to Southampton. Before the weekend they sat third with Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal trailing. Football’s a funny old game, eh?
Early days, though. Very early days. And it would be folly to get carried away by Huddersfield’s terrific start under their equally terrific manager David Wagner. So expecting them to beat West Ham, or to give the East London club a winless evening, is not borne out of newbie dreams.
What we like about Huddersfield is that, from top to bottom, they are everything West Ham are not. That goes for any area of the club. They are humble, organised, efficient, have great nous, no little skill and have good spirit. Most of these qualities come from Wagner.
Maybe it is not asking a huge amount from a manager at a Premier League to have defenders standing in the right position, for the rest to keep their shape and the more advanced players to do the toil of tracking back. Yet for West Ham and Slaven Bilic, their beleaguered boss, it seems it is.
We have said for some time West Ham are on a hiding to nothing this term. Bilic may well lose his job and they could be unfortunate to go all the way relegation instead of flirting with it.
They have played three and lost three this term. Okay, so one of those was hardly a shock – the 4-0 humbling at Manchester United. And the 3-2 defeat by Southampton at St Mary’s could not be described as a surprise. But their capitulation to Newcastle by three clear goals was tawdry.
That is the sort of performance that demeans West Ham and makes them hugely vulnerable against Huddersfield. One gets the feeling that this laissez faire Hammers team need their opponents to be not quite at the races, a little lethargic or potentially as lazy as themselves. Huddersfield will never be that team.
So how best to get with them? Well, the +350 that Huddersfield take all three points in West Ham’s first home game of the season is surely standout value on our green listed bookmakers. But for those who want a little bit of give, just in case something goes awry for Wagner’s boys, the Asian handicap may be the best port of call. The -102 that BetVictor and 888Bet with Huddersfield +0.5 could well be printing money.