West Ham v Manchester United
Wednesday May 11, 4:45am
Man City’s failure to beat Arsenal will have left West Ham ruing their surprise home defeat against Swansea as if they’d won that game they’d now be just two points behind Manuel Pellegrini’s men in fourth, with this game in hand.
As it is, they’re now four points behind United in fifth and if anyone is going to kick the Citizens out of the top-four, it looks set to be their Manchester rivals whose win over Norwich was their seventh in their last 10 games.
West Ham United
West Ham’s defeat against Swansea was their first in 11 games and their first at home since they lost to Bournemouth in their third match of the season. There were signs of trouble as the Hammers had conceded 12 goals in seven games heading into the Swansea match, as they’d been excellent defensively prior to that with seven clean sheets in 14 games.
Their home record this term is W8-D7-L3, with two of those defeats coming in their opening two home games of the season. When hosting top-eight sides under Slaven Bilic they’re W3-D2-L1 as Champions Leicester beat them on the opening day of the season, but Spurs, Liverpool and Southampton have all lost at Upton Park.
Whilst they found the net in all these games, the Hammers only managed two clean sheets and both teams have also found the net in in seven of their last eight overall.
United’s victory over Norwich was their eighth 1-0 win of the season and their sixth clean sheet in their last nine matches. However, the Red Devils have only managed three clean sheets in their last 12 on the road and have won just three of their last 11 away from Old Trafford.
When travelling to sides between fifth and eighth since the start of last term their record is W4-D1-L1 as Swansea, who have become something of a bogey team for United in recent times, were the only side they lost to.
Both teams found the net in four of these six games and it’s worth noting that United have only managed two clean sheets in their eight visits to top-half sides this term.
Adrian is once again out for the Hammers and United have Marouane Fellaini suspended but the visitors should be boosted by the return of Anthony Martial to the side after he was injured in the warm up at Norwich.
The defeat against Swansea means that it’s very hard to side with them against an in-form United side fighting for a top-four spot, but, in turn, the fact that the Red Devils have only won three of their last 12 on the road puts us off them at 2.54.
Instead, the best way to approach this one is to back both teams to score. The Hammers have found the net in 18 of their last 19, but their defence is leaky at the moment, as United’s has been on the road, particularly when travelling to top-half sides.
Sunderland v Everton
Thursday May 12, 4:45am
Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to two goals in three minutes during the second half against Chelsea as they won 3-2. That result, together with the fact that their North East rivals Newcastle could only manage a draw at Villa Park, means that Sunderland are a point clear of safety with a game in hand.
A win in either of their last two games will secure their Premier League status. Everton, meanwhile, failed to spoil Leicester’s party at the King Power Stadium and they’ve now slipped down to 12th.
Big Sam looks set to continue his excellent record of keeping sides in the top division as his Sunderland team have now only lost one of their last nine, and that was against Champions Leicester, though they did draw six of the games.
Their home record under Allardyce is W5-D4-L5, but against sides outside the top-eight they’re W3-D3-L1. However, they have only won two of their last eight at home, with four stalemates.
Despite Everton’s struggles this season, the defeat at Leicester was only their fourth loss on the road this term and each of those have come against top-eight sides.
When travelling to bottom-six teams Everton’s record this season is W3-D3-L0 as three of their five away wins have come against these teams. They led at the break in half of the matches and have only conceded two goals in the last four of these games.
Everton should have Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori and Gareth Barry back for this one after they missed the trip to Leicester and with that in mind we’re taking on Sunderland. They look very short at 1.79.
Indeed, the Black Cats have only been odds-on to win three games since the start of last season and they failed to win any of these against West Brom, QPR and Hull, scoring just one goal.
What’s more, Allardyce has lost all five of his games against Roberto Martinez’s Everton, including a 6-2 defeat at Goodison Park earlier in the season. However, since The Toffees have won only three of their last 14 on the road, it’s the draw that makes appeal here at 3.95 given both sides’ high draw tendency (Sunderland have drawn six of their last nine and Everton have drawn half their last six and seven of their last 13 on the road).