Manchester United vs. West Ham Premier League Picks

Lee Phelps

Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:06 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 25, 2014 10:06 PM GMT

This weekend the Premier League bring us West Ham United F.C. who travel to face Louis Van Gaal's Manchester United team at Old Trafford. Join us as our expert capper previews this matchup and offers his free soccer picks. 

You only have to look back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford to know that consistency is King when you want to be the best. You only have to look at the last two performances to realise Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United team are far from it. We’ll come on to West Ham soon, but first the Jekyll and Hyde Red Devils we saw at the King Power stadium.

 

Game of Two Halves
They purred through most of the first half, with great goals, quick attacking play and the stats were promising as they look to build up their attacking prowess. Eight shots, five of them inside the Leicester penalty box, two goals, 15 crosses and four corners. The second half couldn’t have been more different as the Foxes smelt blood. United had one shot inside the area, which resulted in their third goal, they attempted eight crosses, of which only one was successful and didn’t have a single corner.

As the pressure grew, their brittle back-line started to crack and the midfield failed to protect it. Look at the line up in front of the defence though: Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Rooney, Falcao and van Persie. It’s a lot to ask for Blind alone to protect the men behind him. I know you can point towards the penalty Leicester fortuitously received as unjust, but they still conceded three more goals. Losing Jonny Evans to injury was of course a blow to Manchester United. He is their most senior centre-back (at 26) and is now out of action for up to a month. With in-form West Ham travelling north, how does Van Gaal line up his defence this weekend with Phil Jones out and Tyler Blackett suspended for his red card on Sunday? It looks like Rojo will move to centre back with Chris Smalling, giving Luke Shaw his debut. There are doubts over Shaw now though, with the £30 million pound signing struggling with injury and question marks over his fitness up until this point, you can’t imagine him strolling into this team easily.

The front six pretty much picks itself of course and one thing you can guarantee are chances and West Ham’s opponents have had 26 shots on target in their five games. Van Persie scored his first goal of the season, Falcao is on the verge of opening his account, Di Maria is sensational already (his goal against Leicester will be largely forgotten, but was brilliant) and Rooney looks to be buzzing (when they are on the attack!)

New Additions to Manchester United to Impact Future Betting Values

 

Hammer Time
West Ham’s away form has been good so far, they won at Crystal Palace 3-1 and put in a very good performance at Hull drawing 2-2. They of course backed that up by beating an out-of-form and out-of-sorts Liverpool 3-1. I’ve talked about their front two already, but it’s worth mentioning again because in Sakho and Valencia, they have confident, dynamic forwards who are capable of scoring from nothing. One other major plus for the Hammers was Stewart Downing’s performance as the attacking midfielder just behind the strikers. He looked like a different player, but will Sam Allardyce go for broke and play the same system? His major problem this week is the absence of Chiekhou Kouyate. The Senegalese midfielder has been under the radar, but has been settling into Premier League very well. He’s a strong tackler, intercepts well and reads the game well and they will miss him. Big Sam is thinking of using another summer signing in his place:  Diego Poyet.

At 19, it may be a big ask for Poyet as he only has one Premier League. substitute appearance to his name, but Alladyce doesn't have many other options. He could shift Downing to Kouyate's position and play Mauro Zarate or Morgan Amalfitano in the attacking midfield slot.

He could revert back to a defensive formation given his record at Old Trafford. 14 defeats out of 19 as a manager and only two wins in a period spanning 13 years is surprising given Allardyce's reputation of making his teams hard to beat. 

I think he’ll mirror what Leicester did. Look to set up solid, but with the ability to hit them on the break. United have allowed their opponents 17 shots on target so far and have conceded eight goals (they have had two clean sheets in that run). If they allow West Ham three or four shots on target, I believe West Ham will score.

 

Soccer Picks
I don’t think Van Gaal’s men were as good as people made out after the QPR win or as dreadful as everyone said after the Leicester defeat, they are a team in a defensive mess, but  with the ability to score three or four. We will see high scoring games involving them until they get a steady back line.

My soccer picks for this game have to involve goals, but the bookies are expecting that too. In their games so far, both teams have seen nine first half goals. Over 1.5 first half goals is 13/10, while over 2.5 in the opening half is 9/2. Both look good, but I won’t be greedy and I’ll take the with soccer odds listed at 13/10. I’m also backing Enner Valencia to score anytime at 4/1.

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