With the Hammers hoping to extend a four game winning streak in the league, Norwich arrive at Upton Park, buoyed by a dominant Capital One Cup victory, and with a firm mind to upset their hosts.
After scoring a grand total of six goals in three-and-a-bit Premier League seasons for West Ham, Matt Jarvis has now managed a third of that goal total for Norwich, a club to which he has been loaned, in poorly-timed fashion, by the Hammers. Sitting, as Jarvis is, in this acutely unexpected patch of goal-scoring form, the Hammers will be glad that he is ineligible to play against them this weekend: dodging the bullet that is… Matt Jarvis? As unlikely a sentence as that seemed a month or so ago, West Ham fans will care little of the rather unfair return Norwich are getting on Jarvis; they have things of their own to celebrate.
So, in spite of Jarvis’ enforced absence, Norwich City will arrive at Upton Park as only marginal underdogs. The Canaries earned a hugely creditable draw at Anfield in their last league flaneur, and then backed it up with a raucous 3-0 win over West Brom midweek in the league cup. Naturally, Jarvis opened the scoring in that match, and closed it by forcing an own goal from Baggies defender Sebastien Pocognoli. West Ham, on the other hand, were bettered in extra time by Leicester City – arguably the in-form team in the country – in their league cup tie, but will not need too much consoling. Their fortune, “always hiding” as their anthem goes, has been in plain sight in the league, and last week’s victory over Manchester City brought Slaven Bilic and his players soaring to giddy new heights. But up there, in that rarefied air, the view is clear, and it focuses the gaze on the importance of home form.