West Ham United vs Southampton
In one of Saturday's 3pm kickoffs we see two of the Premier League's promoted sides face off as Southampton take on West Ham at Upton Park. Southampton have only avoided loss twice in their 7 games so far this season & those games were both at home against poor travellers Fulham (2-2 last time out) & struggling Aston Villa, this is a tougher test against Sam Allardyce's men who've looked resolute & happy to play to his game plan.
(Matt Jarvis is on his way to becoming a fan favourite at Upton Park)
West Ham have the creative Ricardo Vaz Te out for a while with a shoulder injury but they have plenty of options at the top end of the pitch & their club record signing Matt Jarvis has started to show a bit of form, his crossing ability will be invaluable for them with such good aerial presence with their strikers. The Hammers still look a bit shaky at the back at times & we've mentioned before that we feel Jussi Jaaskelainen is outstaying his welcome as a top flight keeper.
No team has conceded more than Southampton's 20 goals this year & Nigel Adkins attacking philosophy is regularly being exposed as simply a little naive & just isn't surprising teams as much as Blackpool a couple of seasons back. They invested heavily in the summer but mainly in attacking areas with Jay Rodriguez & Gaston Ramirez coming in to complement star striker Rickie Lambert who's already got himself 4 league goals. Neither side had too many players on international duty this week & that should mean this is one of the livelier Saturday games, Southampton can't really defend so are forced to attack (there have been an average of 4.6 goals in their games) & West Ham should get themselves on the scoresheet, that means odds of 8/11 for over 2.5 goals looks a solid bet.
Portsmouth vs Shrewsbury Town
In League One, Portsmouth entertain Shrewsbury Town at Fratton Park, both sides are in the bottom half of the table with Portsmouth 14th & Shrewsbury two points & two places below them.
(Izale McLeod is Pompey's current goalscoring hero)
Portsmouth with their much publicised financial problems started the slowly with only one victory in their first eight league games. Manager Michael Appleton has received many plaudits for how he has assembled a competitive side & handled himself throughout his rein & in the their last four games his side have picked up three victories & a draw. In each of these games they have scored two goals & in striker Izale McLeod they have a proven goalscorer at this level who has 6 league goals & 3 in their last 3.
Visitors Shrewsbury have been very inconsistent so far with all three of their victories coming in front of the home faithful. They beat Walsall 1-0 last Sunday but were second best for most of the match & had to rely on goalkeeper Chris Weale (man of the match) to pull off a number of outstanding saves. That was their first win in five league matches & on the road they have struggled with only three points from six matches & three defeats.
Portsmouth at odds of 6/5 are on a roll & will be too strong for a Shrewsbury side who pick up the large majority of their points at home.
Hull City vs Ipswich Town
This weekend in the Championship two ex-Premier league sides are pitted together as Hull City host Ipswich Town at the KC Stadium. Hull are in 10th place whilst Ipswich are really struggling & are second from bottom.
Hull had a good start to the season & looked in fine form until three straight defeats at the end of September/early October but they got themselves back on track before the international break with a 1-0 away victory at Sheffield Wednesday. Sone Aluko & Abdoulaye Faye joined in the summer & have contributed in a big way so far with Aluko adding guile & Faye some real solidity to the team plus both have 3 goals each. Boss Steve Bruce is still waiting for one of his other signings, 6"3 German striker Nick Proschwitz to come good but this could be the perfect game to bag his first goal as Ipswich just love to present chances on a platter to opposition strikers. The Tigers also have a very good keeper in Manchester United loanee Ben Amos & he could prove tricky for Ipswich's goal shy strikers to get the ball past.
(Hull's Nick Proschwitz will see this as an ideal game to get his first goal)
Ipswich's season just hasn't started yet with only one win from their first ten league games, they've lost 5 of their last 8 league games - the latest being a 2-1 home defeat inflicted by Cardiff City despite a ludicrously obvious handball goal by DJ Campbell giving them a first half lead. Manager Paul Jewell is under intense pressure & seems to have no answers to his critics currently & his defense are often at sixes & sevens. They have only kept one clean sheet & conceded 19 goals at an average of nearly two per game plus problems also at the other end when playing away with only a meagre three goals scored themselves.
Ipswich's form is just woeful & Hull available at evens with BetVictor are a must this weekend, Hull can smash the Tractor Boys & finally end Paul Jewell's rather miserable time in charge.
West Ham United vs Southampton over 2.5 goals at 8/11 (Stan James)
Portsmouth to beat Shrewsbury Town at 6/5 (SkyBet & BetVictor)
Hull City to beat Ipswich Town at evens (BetVictor)