West Ham v Leeds: Back goals galore in a Hammers win

An entertaining game should be on the cards when West Ham host Leeds on Monday Night Football, and Mike Norman is here to unearth some profitable wagers...

Solid Hammers aiming high

West Ham are enjoying a magnificent season under David Moyes and will go into Monday night's home clash with Leeds firmly in the race for a Top 4 Finish, for which they can be backed at 6.8.

Top 6 Finish (2.44) is probably a more realistic target for the Hammers however, but it's impossible not to be impressed with the way their season has gone so far.

Since their opening-day defeat to Newcastle, West Have have gone on a run of 16 Premier League games without losing against the non-'big six' teams, winning 12 of those matches and drawing the other four. Their six defeats in addition to the one against the Magpies have come against Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, and Liverpool (twice).

David Moyes, West Ham.jpg

I go on a lot about teams being inconsistent this season (refer to Leeds below) but when it comes to Moyes' men it's very straightforward; they struggle to beat the traditional 'big six' teams, but against everyone else they've been absolutely superb.

Moyes has a minor headache between the sticks going into Monday's game as regular goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski missed last week's defeat to Man City with an arm injury, and his stand-in, Darren Randolph, now has a thigh injury. Although he hasn't trained this week, Fabianski is likely to return.

Angelo Ogbonna remains sidelined but Ryan Fredericks could return to the squad after recovering from a groin strain.

Mid-table about right for the entertainers

For any newly-promoted club the first aim has to be to avoid relegation, and Leeds United are on course to achieve that rather comfortably.

Marcelo Bielsa's men are nicely perched in mid-table having taken 35 points from their 26 games played, though perhaps the most striking statistic is the one that tells us that league matches involving Leeds this season average close to 3.5 goals per game; the 87 goals their games have witnessed (43 for, 44 against) being the highest in the division.

But while we can usually expect Leeds to be involved in an entertaining game, what we can't call with any great confidence is the outcome of their games. Their current form reads won four and lost four from their last eight matches. Away from home their last six games read won three, lost three.

Leeds don't draw many matches - just two all season, the lowest in the division - and they haven't finished a game all square for 17 league matches now (W8, L9); their all-or-nothing approach usually resulting in a very enjoyable watch for the neutral.

Kalvin Phillips is Bielsa's only major injury concern and he is set to face a late fitness test before a decision is made as to whether he plays or not.

Hard to ignore West Ham's form against the lesser lights

The odds suggest, and I completely agree, that West Ham are the most likely winners of this clash, being available to back at 2.16 in the Match Odds market (Leeds 3.6, Draw 3.8).

The one problem I have with taking that price is that the opposition is Leeds United. We know that Bielsa's men will attack, we know that if they go a goal or two down they'll attack even more. If they have their shooting boots on then this Leeds team can easily score two or three in the blink of an eye.

But in recent weeks Leeds have failed to score against Aston Villa, they failed to score against Wolves, and against Arsenal they were 4-0 down in no time and effectively out of the game.

And it's also impossible to ignore West Ham's incredible run of form against the non-'big six' teams.

Moyes' men haven't lost in such a fixture for 16 games now, and their current form at the London Stadium has seen them win five of their last six - their only defeat coming to, you guessed it, a 'big six' team in Liverpool.

I like the home win, I just don't like the price. Perhaps I'm being greedy but I want more reward for opposing a Leeds team that are more than capable of leaving you with egg on your face.

Goals on the menu

That bigger reward - if successful of course - comes from backing a West Ham win with over 3.5 goals in the game - available to back at just over 4/1 (5.07) on the Sportsbook.

The Hammers' last five wins have come with 4, 5, 4, 3 and 3 goals being scored in the game, so the recommended bet is certainly not without hope given that Leeds are the visitors on Monday night, a team that never gives up and one that lost 4-2 the last time they were in London a few weeks ago.

Add in the fact that Moyes can field virtually a full strength team, with Michail Antonio back to full fitness and Jesse Lingard having settled in superbly, then I believe this excellent West Ham team carry even more goal threat than they did a month or so ago.



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