Tony Pulis
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Pulis’ home debuts hint that Crystal Palace and West Ham will score

| 03.12.2013

Tony Pulis has had managerial stints at six different clubs in his career and a common theme among all of them is that his home debut in the dugout has seen both teams score.

The only exception was in his second spell as Stoke manager and so the 4/5 on offer that both teams find the target when Crystal Palace host West Ham is a price that appeals, despite the obvious feeling that this London derby will be low scoring.

Both teams have scored in only four of Palace’s 13 Premier League games this season, but interestingly the bet would have landed in all of their three showdowns with clubs currently in the bottom six of the standings, as West Ham are.

Meanwhile, over 2.5 goals have been netted in the last three top-flight games involving the Hammers, which must aid the prospects of both teams finding the scoresheet.

Another frequent occurrence in Pulis’ previous home debuts has been victories. Three points have been secured in five of Pulis’ first home fixtures at new clubs, which includes in his last two jobs at Plymouth and Stoke.

Crystal Palace’s odds of 21/10 to beat West Ham make them the underdogs for this clash, but they have shown clear improvement of late through taking four points from their last three games.

West Ham are favourites at 7/5, but it is worth noting that they have only won four away games since returning to the Premier League and they have not won back-to-back league outings since being in the Championship.

Therefore, the draw may have some admirers at 23/10.

However, taking all of the above into consideration, the 11/2 available that Crystal Palace win a game in which both teams score is worthy of some investment.

Those wanting to go one step further may want to back the Crystal Palace 2-1 victory at 11/1, as this has been the correct score in four of Pulis’ home debuts.

There isn’t much more annoying than a football pundit reeling off the line “the first goal will be important in this match”, but this obvious and unperceptive statement does hold more kudos for a fixture involving Crystal Palace or West Ham.

This is because neither team have managed to claim a single point in the Premier League in the current campaign when conceding the first goal of a game or from a losing position in a fixture.

Picking a Palace player to open the scoring may prove profitable in this case and Barry Bannan stands out at 16/1 to break the deadlock, given his winner at Hull and effort that was cleared off the line against Norwich.

Another fact is that these two clubs are among the best disciplined in the Premier League, with no team receiving fewer yellow cards than Crystal Palace this season and West Ham not having a single player booked in three of their last five outings in all competitions.

With a yellow card equating to 10 points and a red 25 points, the 13/8 available for 0-24 booking points is laudable.