West Ham V Blackburn - Opta Preview

West Ham United Upton Park Saturday 2nd February Blackburn Rovers 24 Games24  ATTACKING 27 Goals scored32 1.13 Ave goals per game1.33 43% Shooting Accuracy40% 10% Goals to shots %11%  PASSING 9,186 Passes10,168 75% Pass completion %76%  DEFENDING 72% Tackle success rate %76% 41 Goals conceded32 1.71 Ave goals conceded per game1.33  DISCIPLINE 381 Fouls375 45 Yellow cards39 3 Red cards2 8,873 Opta Index Score9,277
West Ham United v Blackburn Rovers

A run of just one win in their opening seven league fixtures led many West Ham United fans to believe that the club were going to be in for a real relegation battle in 2001-02. But results since then have been far more encouraging, and there seems little likelihood of the Hammers going down this term.

In contrast, Blackburn started brightly upon their return to the top flight, but have since seen their fortunes waver. And despite reaching the upcoming Worthington Cup final, manager Graham Souness knows that improving league results must be the priority if the team are to avoid dropping straight back down to Division One.

Creating clear-cut chances seems to have been a problem for Souness' side. They have had just 146 goalscoring opportunities inside the opposition penalty area to date, and the fact that they have scored with only 14% of these shots means that only four sides are more wasteful with their close-range chances than Rovers.

This however, has been offset by Blackburn's goalscoring abilities from distance. Long-shot specialists such as Tugay and David Dunn have been unafraid to have a go from outside the box and the club have consequently scored nine long-shots this season - the highest total in the Premiership. Clearly West Ham will have to be wary of standing off Rovers' players around the area on Saturday.

The Hammers have been more disposed to breaking down defences with their neat approach play, which is unsurprising considering the quality of some of their players' passing, as espoused by the likes of Paolo Di Canio and Joe Cole. In fact only 41% of the shots fired by Glenn Roeder's side have come from outside the area - only six sides have a smaller proportion.

The result of this is that the vast majority of West Ham's goals have come from forwards. Fredrick Kanoute, Di Canio and Jemain Defoe have all scored six Premiership goals apiece, while the squad's defence and midfield have managed that same total between them.

Online bookmakers surreySPORTS rate the chances of West Ham's attacking trio getting on the scoresheet as 11/8 for Di Canio, evens for Kanoute and 5/4 for Defoe and either one or all of these bets may prove tempting to Hammers fans.

Rovers have been excellent on their trips to London this term, drawing at Chelsea and Arsenal and beating Charlton. But aside from their midweek defeat to Southampton, Roeder's team are in the better form and should expect to take all three points from this encounter.

Rupert Webster

Match referee: P. Jones

Loughborough official Peter Jones is one of the few Premiership referees not to have awarded a penalty this season and with Rovers not being awarded a spot-kick all term don't expect their luck to change on Saturday.

Referee's Name  FoulsPenaltiesYellow CardsRed CardsAve Disc pointsP. Jones 312 0 29 1 40.50

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Match Result
West Ham 10/11
Draw 12/5
Blackburn 12/5

Correct Score
West Ham 1-0 6/1
West Ham 2-0 7/1
West Ham 2-1 7/1
West Ham 3-0 14/1
West Ham 3-1 14/1
West Ham 3-2 25/1
West Ham 4-0 40/1
West Ham 4-1 33/1
West Ham 4-2 50/1
West Ham 5-0 100/1
West Ham 5-1 100/1
Draw 0-0 8/1
Draw 1-1 6/1
Draw 2-2 16/1
Draw 3-3 50/1
Blackburn 1-0 8/1
Blackburn 2-0 14/1
Blackburn 2-1 11/1
Blackburn 3-0 33/1
Blackburn 3-1 28/1
Blackburn 3-2 28/1
Blackburn 4-0 100/1
Blackburn 4-1 100/1
Blackburn 4-2 100/1

Double Result
West Ham/West Ham 9/4
West Ham/Draw 16/1
West Ham/Blackburn 33/1
Draw/West Ham 7/2
Draw/Draw 4/1
Draw/Blackburn 6/1
Blackburn/West Ham 25/1
Blackburn/Draw 16/1
Blackburn/Blackburn 11/2

For all these bets + much more go now to surreySPORTS.co.uk

By Road:

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