Premier League new-boys Cardiff City can catch West Ham cold at Upton Park and the 3/1 about a win against Sam Allardyce’s side – who are without £15m forward Andy Carroll – is too big for a team with so much promising new talent on show.
Cardiff broke their record transfer fee three times this summer, with the signings of striker Andreas Cornelius, centre-half Steven Caulker and defensive midfielder Gary Medel costing a combined £25 million, an outlay fellow promotees Hull City and Crystal Palace can only dream of.
Last year’s campaign – which saw Malky Mackay’s team win the Championship with two games to go by an eventual eight points – showed that Cardiff have the bones of a strong team and the addition of a bit of meat over the summer will ensure their competitiveness in the top flight.
The Bluebirds won this fixture 1-0 the last time it was played in 2011 – albeit in the Championship – and their excellent form last season garnered 10 wins out of 23 on the road, with their total of 35 away goals the second-highest in the division.
West Ham’s form at the Boleyn Ground was excellent last season, with 12 home wins compared to just three away victories, but with either Modibo Maiga or Ricardo Vaz Te – a strike pair that contributed a paltry five league goals between them last term – set to start up front in the absence of the injured Carroll, the Irons could struggle to find the back of the net against Cardiff, who finished last season with the second-best defence in the second-tier.
When record signing Carroll was out injured last season, West Ham lost six games and only won five, while they grabbed all the points in eight of the matches the pony-tailed England forward featured, with the former Liverpool man only tasting defeat five times.
With Cornelius set to start from the bench, right-back Matthew Connolly is great value at 16/1 to score at any time, after registering five league strikes in Cardiff’s table topping campaign.