West Ham v Wolves Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
August 28, 2018
London Stadium - Premier League
With three straight league defeats, pressure is mounting for Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham to win as they host Wolves this weekend. Last season's Championship winners have had a mixed start to the season, and are also yet to win a game, but will be on a high after holding Manchester City to a draw last week.
The two sides last met in an FA Cup 3rd round fixture back in January 2016, which the Hammers won thanks to a late goal from Nikica Jelavic.
Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that he won't change from the system that has seen his side fail to pick up a point, meaning that Marko Arnautovic is likely to lead the line once again, with Felipe Anderson in support and Jack Wilshire behind. Whether the manager sticks with new signing Issa Diop, who scored an own goal on Saturday, remains to be seen.
For Nuno Santo there is less up for discussion as the manager has carried his successful 3-4-3 formation forward from last season. The only doubts surround who will start up front, with Luca Bonatini and Raul Jimenez battling it out, and whether Adama Traore will get his full debut.
West Ham v Wolves Preview and Predictions
Things are not looking good for Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham. The new manager took over this summer following a shambolic season for the Hammers, and was handed a significant war chest in order to turn things round. However, with over £100 million spent, and nine players brought in, the side has lost their first three games, and rarely looked like they deserve anything more.
Their opponents on Saturday, Wolves, have had a far more positive start to the season, managing to translate their offensive playing style to the Premier League. Of course, this has had a marked effect on their defensive capabilities, with five goals already conceded, however, last weekend's draw against Manchester City shows that Santo's side is able to shut up shop when it comes down to it. All that remains for the manager is to figure out how to balance the two sides of the game.
The Midlands club is also able to boast a host of intriguing players, with the central midfield Portuguese partnership of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho full of creativity. Despite breaking their transfer record to sign Adama Traore from Middlesborough, the winger has yet to feature from the start for his new side, however, a cameo saw Spaniard's pace caused a real threat down Man City's left-flank.
West Ham were also highly active in the transfer market, but as opposed to Santo's tactics, Pellegrini has been quick to introduce a number of summer signings. Fabian Balbuena, Jack Wilshire and Felipe Anderson have started all three games, as has 'keeper Lukasz Fabianski,, a strange move given that the Hammers had a pre-established Premier League XI from last season. Although there have been no reports of it, large-scale changes tend to have a detrimental effect on team morale, and it will be interesting to see whether the former-Manchester City manager returns to the club stalwarts if the new-signings fail to deliver.
As a result, this Saturday is very much the battle of the Premier League new-boys, or in Wolves' case, the returnees. Of the two sides, Santo's side seems to have settled the fastest, however, on-paper at least, Pellegrini does appear to have the stronger squad. If the Argentinian can help them reach their potential, we should have a high quality game on our hands.
Ruben Neves to score anytime at 4/1
Wolves' free-kick specialist is a contact threat both from a dead ball and in-play, and should pose a threat to West Ham's disjointed back line.
Over 2.5 goals scored at 5/6
Neither side has managed to balance their offensive play with defensive strength and both teams may opt for the former on Saturday.