While most of England’s footballers, managers, chairmen and fans are plotting their way through pre-season, hopeful of a big signing or two to boost morale, the poor people down at West Ham have had to pack their bags for an away trip to the Pyrenees.
Europa League qualifying round second-leg duties await in Andorra, where little Lusitanos will attempt to overhaul a 3-0 deficit from the first leg in east London.
The Irons mixed up a bit of old and new in their first-leg XI, meaning it’s tough to know how they’ll line up on the border of France and Spain, so we’ve dug down into the annals to find some betting nuggets from past West Ham European away nights since the start of the Premier League era:
A midfielder usually scores at least one
Frank Lampard smashed home in a couple of West Ham’s Intertoto Cup matches on the road 16 years ago, and Palermo’s former Brazil international Fabio Simplicio bagged a brace in their 3-0 victory over Alan Pardew’s men in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.
With that in mind we’re tipping up Morgan Amalfitano, who started in the Boleyn Ground first leg, to get off the mark for the campaign at 6/5.
West Ham have opened the scoring in half of their European away matches since 1999
That’s not a bad ratio considering the likes of French side Metz and Eredivisie stalwarts Heerenveen went behind during that run.
Against Andorran small-fry, it has to be Diafra Sakho, scorer of the first two last time out, for a 3/1 opener.
Three or more goals isn’t out of the ordinary
Metz and Croatian outfit Osijek were both handed 3-1 defeats by Harry Redknapp’s Irons between August and September 2013, meaning half of West Ham’s European away games in the Premier League era have seen over 2.5 goals struck.
They’ll no doubt be looking to do rather better than that at the Estadi Comunal d’Andorra la Vella. Back over 3.5 goals at 9/20 with bwin.com
The Irons have only kept one clean sheet in their past six European away games
If there’s any hope for the hosts it lies in the fact that West Ham’s sole European away shutout since March 1981 came at Heerenveen, and even Finnish outfit Jokerit found a way past Redknapp’s men at the end of the last century.
Lusitanos are 37/20 to get off the mark in front of the faithful.