ADAM GOODWIN (@AGJournalism) shares his thoughts on Super Sunday’s contest between Manchester United and West Ham from Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Manchester United v West Ham | Sunday 13th August 2017, 16:00 | Sky Sports
The first few games of the season are tough to call because there’s not much form to look at and you have to second-guess team news until managers have found their best starting XI.
Jose Mourinho is set to begin another season in charge of United, and he’ll be aiming a lot higher than their sixth-place finish last campaign.
Slaven Bilic was under pressure for much of last season but remains in the London Stadium dugout for the start of the new season, at least.
After breaking the world transfer record last summer, many people were expecting Mourinho’s Red Devils to be challenging right at the very top of the league.
Injuries and European distractions prevented this, but with their new £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku, there’s a lot more optimism around Old Trafford.
Along with Lukaku, Mourinho has brought in Swedish centre back Victor Lindelof from Benfica and former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, both of whom look to be superb signings.
Matic is a two-time Premier League winner and could be the missing part in the United jigsaw that Mourinho has been furiously trying to complete. The Serbian will allow Paul Pogba to express himself and United fans will be hoping he can become the player that made him the most expensive footballer in the world just 12 months ago.
I think Mourinho will look to replicate the outstanding home record he had when at Chelsea, and I would be surprised if this United team loses too many games at Old Trafford this season. They’re currently unbeaten at home in 2017 and I can’t see that changing come Sunday.
There’s been a lot of money splashed in the Premier League this summer, but West Ham have spent theirs wisely. Former Red Devil Javier Hernandez was the first through the door and he was followed by Stoke’s Marco Arnautovic and Manchester City duo Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart (loan).
Proven Premier League players seems to be the transfer policy at the London Stadium and, whilst they’ve all received plenty of criticism throughout their time in England, I think they will all prove to be fantastic signings.
As mentioned earlier, Bilic was on the brink of the sack during the majority of last season but he remains at West Ham for the start of the 2017/18 campaign. I’m still not convinced Bilic is the right man for the Hammers job and, after the board has heavily backed him in the transfer window, they’ll be expecting a top-half finish at least.
Last season they seemed defensively inept at times but the experience of Zabaleta could be exactly what they need. Dimitri Payet was never really replaced when he left last summer but the addition of the similarly enigmatic Arnautovic is a fantastic signing. Hernandez will offer the goal threat that has been hugely missed for a long time in East London.
If it all clicks at West Ham this season it could be a memorable one; whether it will or not is a different story.
The betting angles
I can’t see past a Manchester United victory this Sunday but I won’t be backing them to win at best price 1/3. Instead, I’ll add in Both Teams To Score to the mix and I fancy Man Utd to win and BTTS, which is 12/5 with 888.
Both Teams To Score has landed in four out of five of the last meetings between these two at Old Trafford and I can see it coming to fruition again this weekend.
I’m also going to be backing ex-United and new Hammers striker Hernandez to score (4/1 with Betfred) on his return to Old Trafford on Sunday. He scored on his debuts for Guadalajara and United and I think he’ll net on his first appearance for the Hammers on Sunday.