West Ham United are off the most disappointing start imaginable, losing their first three matches of the Premier League season and scoring exactly zero goals for their troubles. The past two seasons under David Moyes have brought back an era of good feelings in East London, but they’re now staring down the possibility of an 0-0-4 (W-D-L) start as they’re slight underdogs to Aston Villa on Sunday.
It’s also been a sluggish start to the season for the Villans, who sit on three points thanks to a win over Everton and two losses to relegation-favorites Bournemouth and Crystal Palace. What’s more concerning is Villa’s pedestrian start is part of a bigger trend that goes back to last season.
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Steven Gerrard’s side is 6-4-10 in its last 20 EPL matches and those six wins have come against Norwich City, Burnley, Leeds, Brighton and Everton twice. That is five wins against teams that got relegated or were in the relegation battle until the last week of the season and a mid-table Brighton side.
For West Ham, the problem this season has been a leaky defense, but those should start to get sorted out with Angelo Ogbonna’s return to the lineup. Ogbonna won’t magically turn things around for a unit that’s allowed five goals on 5.3 expected goals (xG) through three games, but things should start to get better. Additionally, Aston Villa created the third-fewest big scoring chances last season, so this is not the type of team that is built to take advantage of a suspect defense.
It sounds weird to say because they haven’t scored yet, but there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with the West Ham attack. They hit two cross-bars and missed a penalty in a loss to Nottingham Forest and overall the Hammers have created 3.2 xG. More than half of that came against Forest, but West Ham’s other two matches came against two of the best defensive units in the Premier League, so it’s not time to panic about this offense just yet.
Betting on Sports?
Both of these teams have gotten off the blocks slower than most would have expected, but this game sets up as a coin flip and there are some stylistic factors that point to West Ham having value at +225.
West Ham vs. Aston Villa pick
West Ham +225