Paul Merson predicts West Ham v Middlesbrough
By Will Butcher
Paul Merson believes West Ham are set to suffer their 11th Premier League loss of the season against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic’s side travel to Teesside to face Aitor Karanka’s side at 3pm at the Riverside, as the Hammers look to go one better by beating Boro after drawing 1-1 in the reverse fixture.
Despite producing a sparkling 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday thanks to goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini, Merson expects the Hammers to lose.
Sky Sports pundit Merson believes the east London outfit will suffer a narrow 1-0 loss to Boro, and claims Boro’s home form and rigid defence will prevent the Hammers from scoring.
“For 70 minutes against Palace, West Ham weren’t very good,” Merson said in his Sky Sports column. “Then they got the first goal and the confidence flooded back into Slaven Bilic’s side.
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“However, Boro are very tight at home and don’t let in a lot of goals. They are very hard to beat in front of their own fans.”
The Hammers are likely to be without last season’s Player of the Year Dimitri Payet as he continues to refuse to play in order to force a move away from east London.
A win for theWest Ham on Saturday could see them move into the top half of the Premier League, leapfrogging Burnley, Bournemouth and Stoke if all three fail to win.
In other West Ham news, Paul Ince has delivered this damning verdict on Payet.