After months of waiting, Premier League football will finally be embraced at Kenilworth Road as Luton Town host West Ham United on Friday 1st September.
Luton remain without Gabriel Osho, Dan Potts and Jordan Clark through injury while West Ham welcome back Nayef Aguerd after he served his one-match suspension following a red card. Meanwhile, Konstantinos Mavropanos could feature if he is deemed fit enough by manager David Moyes.
West Ham to win @ 8/11
Look, I get it. Kenilworth Road is going to be one of the most hostile atmospheres the Premier League has ever seen. The conditions are difficult to play in, the crowd is so close to the pitch and the changing rooms are barely above Sunday League level.
But how much of a difference will all of that truly make? We’re about to find out on Friday night as Luton begin their home adventure in the Premier League by hosting West Ham. Moyes will be delighted with his team’s start to the season, given they are coming off back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Brighton and they will go top of the table with a win on Friday.
Luton will be desperate to make a big impression here, but the quality level between the two squads is huge. Also, unlike several other teams that will visit Kenilworth Road this season, the Hammers have all the tools to deal with Luton.
They are physical, with the likes of Michail Antonio, Kurt Zouma and Tomas Soucek all imposing figures, while the set-piece delivery of James Ward-Prowse will cause problems for the Hatters. It’s not a fairy tale start, but a West Ham win at 8/11 is the way to go.
Michail Antonio to score anytime @ 12/5
Luton are a direct side, but they are also susceptible at the back. One man looking to take full advantage of that will be Antonio, who has scored in back-to-back games. The front man will be able to deal with Luton’s physical style and should be able to bully their defenders.
He’s also, importantly, a threat from set pieces which could be a key factor in deciding this game. Although West Ham have shared goals about this season so far, choosing their number nine to get on the scoresheet in a game he is well suited for feels like the most sensible pick.
If Moyes’ men are to pick up another win on the road, expect Antonio to feature heavily in all their positive attacking moves.