Stewart Downing
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Downing has to be backed to break season duck against Swansea

| 31.01.2014

With Andy Carroll getting 64 minutes under his belt in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea, there is a strong possibility that he will continue improving his match sharpness with another start at home to Swansea.

It is Carroll’s aerial threat that is his biggest asset, but the fact that West Ham haven’t scored a header all season in the Premier League and Swansea have only conceded twice in this fashion, this may not be the game to rely on the England striker breaking his duck for the season.

However, Carroll did get the only goal in this exact fixture last season and it is 6/4 that he is on target in the 90 minutes again.

Stewart Downing is another Hammer still waiting for his first goal of the campaign and this is a big surprise given that he is one of Sam Allardyce’s more frequent shooters on average.

What is also a surprise is that Downing can be backed at 7/1 to score at any time against Swansea, given he will be one of their front three in a home game against mid-table opposition.

This is especially as fellow wideman Matt Jarvis is 11/2 in the same market, despite shooting less than half as often as Downing from more starts.

An interesting statistic in this clash is the link to Fulham and November, as the Cottagers were the opposition and November was the month when West Ham last won at home in the top-flight and Swansea last triumphed on the road.

Therefore, the draw may prove the best option in the match betting offerings here at 23/10, with Swansea the favourites for victory at 6/4 and West Ham priced at 7/4.

Meanwhile, both teams have not been on target in all three previous Premier League meetings between the pair or in eight of Swansea’s 11 away outings this season.

Choosing no for both teams scoring at Upton Park pays out at 21/20.