West Ham United welcome Premier League new-boys Cardiff City for their first ever Premier League game, with both sides looking to implement new signings into their squad.
While Sam Allardyce and the Hammers are aspiring for a top half finish, Malky Mackay and his team are simply aspiring to stay up.
Both sides have spent big in the summer, notably the Hammers with their £15m signature for Andy Carroll. They have also secured Razvan Rat and goalkeeper Adrian on free transfers.
According to reports, Stewart Downing is set to make a move to Upton Park from Liverpool, which could be a massive signing for the East London outfit.
Of the three new promoted teams, it can be said that Cardiff City have spent heavily. £9m on Gary Medel, £8m on Steven Caulker and £7.6m on Andreas Cornelius signals intent.
According to physioroom.com, West Ham will be without the influence of record signing Andy Carroll, dependable centre back James Collins and George McCartney. Razvan Rat is expected to make his debut for the club. Cardiff may be without their talisman Craig Bellamy and Andreas Cornelius – although the pair are expected back for 17th August.
According to walesonline.co.uk, Aron Gunnarsson has battled back from a shoulder injury, and played 60 mins versus Athletic Bilbao and could fight new signing Gary Medel for a midfield starting place.
The last time the Bluebirds visited Upton Park on the opening day of a league campaign was in the Championship in 2011/2012 – they left East London with all three points due to a Kenny Miller winner in the 90th minute.
That same season, West Ham and Cardiff faced each other in the play off semi-finals, with West Ham United victorious – with a 5-0 aggregate scoreline.
Kevin Nolan has two goals in his last three appearances against the Bluebirds.
Last five meetings:
6/02/2005 – Championship: West Ham United 1-0 Cardiff City
07/08/2011 – Championship: West Ham United 0-1 Cardiff City
04/03/12 – Championship: Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United
03/05/12 – Championship: Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United
07/05/12 – Championship: West Ham United 3-0 Cardiff City
Howard Webb will referee the game between the two teams – is the Yorkshireman expecting a fiery clash?
West Ham: Kevin Nolan
I expect captain Nolan to give the visitors many problems, although he doesn’t have Carroll upfront to complement his play, I think the former Bolton Wanderers player will wreak havoc on Caulker and co.
Cardiff City: Kim Bo-Kyung
The South Korean had a fine Championship campaign for Cardiff last season, and has followed up his fine form in pre season – with three goals. If he is given the space to dictate the play and tempo in midfield, Cardiff City could sneak an unlikely win in their first ever Premier League game.
After much deliberation, I predict a West Ham United win with sports betting website Pinnacle currently offering odds of 1.990 – West Ham United win
I’m also predicting Kevin Nolan to score first and West Ham to win 2-1.
West Ham Win: 1.990 (£10 bet wins you £19.90 – includes your £10 bet)
Cardiff City Win: 4.120 (£10 bet wins you £41.20 – includes your £10 bet)
Stalemate: 3.640 (£10 bet wins you £36.40 – includes your £10 bet)
For more on Pinnacle Sports, and their very interesting research on the ‘Home Field Advantage in the Premier League’ visit here: Home advantage