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Preview – West Ham v Middlesbrough

Preview – West Ham v Middlesbrough

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Two struggling teams meet at the London Stadium on Saturday when West Ham – who have lost their last four Premier League matches – take on a Middlesbrough team defeated in each of their three games in September.

Slaven Bilic’s side were particularly woeful in last Sunday’s 3-0 home capitulation to Southampton after which club captain Mark Noble admitted that Saints could easily have doubled their tally.

The Hammers have the worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 16 goals in their first six matches, which includes four against both West Brom and Watford, as well as another three at Manchester City.

As well as their defensive problems, West Ham also look lightweight in attack, with summer signing Simone Zaza struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League, although the Italian is 11/2 to score the first goal on Saturday.

These are worrying times for Hammers fans as the move to the London Stadium appears to have been far more problematic than had been envisaged by David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady.

Bilic will be without Arthur Masuaku (knee), Andy Carroll (knee), Andre Ayew (thigh muscle strain), Aaron Cresswell (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) for Saturday’s game.

After making a bright start to the campaign, beating Sunderland and drawing with Stoke City and West Brom, Boro have struggled of late, suffering defeats to Crystal Palace, Everton and Spurs.

With a tough run of fixtures on the horizon – they play Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City in a five-week period from late October onwards – Aitor Karanka’s side could do with getting some points on the board.

Fabio Da Silva (knee), James Husband (dislocated shoulder) and Grant Leadbitter (hernia) are all currently injured while the last time the two clubs met was in March 2012 in the Championship when the match finished in a 1-1 draw.

West Ham need to improve defensively while Boro are struggling for goals so a goalless draw (15/2) could be a good bet while a narrow 1-0 for the visitors is available at 35/4.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.