Sam Allardyce returns to one of his former clubs for the second weekend running…and there could be more disappointment in store for the ex-England boss at the London Stadium.
Our best bet for this match: West Ham United to win at 5/4 with Paddy Power
Big Sam took his Crystal Palace side up to Bolton, where he made his managerial name, for an FA Cup third-round tie last Saturday and it finished 0-0, which means a replay against the League One promotion-chasers at Selhurst Park next Tuesday.
In the meantime, Allardyce visits another previous employer, West Ham, in the Premier League this Saturday and having enjoyed a fine reception from the fans at the Macron Stadium, he can be sure he will not be so warmly received this time.
It was, of course, at the Boleyn Ground rather than the London Stadium where Allardyce guided the Hammers and the locals turned on him because of his style of football, clearly happy to forget he had led them to promotion and into the upper reaches of the Premier League.
But any thoughts the 62-year-old may have of emerging with the last laugh could well be snuffed out because there is very little to recommend his side as a betting proposition in a fixture such as this just now.
Palace’s form continues to be pretty dreadful and having drawn last week’s blank against a team two divisions below them, they have now won only once in their latest 15 matches.
West Ham United's Andy Carroll in action during a Europa League qualifier (Getty Images)
Moreover, 10 of those 15 have been defeats and there has been no immediate improvement since Alan Pardew’s sacking, albeit the return to fitness of on-loan Chelsea striker Loic Remy to supplement Christian Benteke gives Allardyce another high-quality option up front.
Backing West Ham to inflict another loss on the Eagles has its own risks though, because Slaven Bilic’s side have been beaten three times to nil in a row themselves – and each reverse has been by a progressively more emphatic scoreline.
It was 1-0 at Leicester and then 2-0 and 5-0 at home to the two Manchester clubs, the latest against City in the FA Cup being particularly embarrassing on prime-time terrestrial TV.
However, previously West Ham had beaten Burnley and Hull at home and with Palace being of a similar standard to that duo at present, we will back Bilic to engineer a victory that, for the time being, would stave off the threat of him being sacked – just as his predecessor Big Sam was.
Manuel Lanzini anytime goalscorer @ 16/5 with Paddy Power