WEST HAM travel to Newcastle on Friday night. Ben Ragg (@Punters_Corner_) is on-hand to deliver his favourite fancies.
Leeds vs West Ham | Friday 10th December 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
After earning rave reviews in the first couple of weeks, Leeds haven’t thrived as much as people thought they might. Nevertheless, for a newly-promoted team they have had a decent start and have earned a lot of praise from pundits for their exciting style of play.
Leeds boss Biela really is a one-of-a-kind manager and he proved this again in his press conference on Wednesday by announcing his team two days before kick-off. Usually, we aren’t aware of a starting line-up until an hour before kick-off but Bielsa doesn’t do things the usual way.
Leeds line-up is as follows (4-2-3-1): Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Klich, Phillips, Raphinia, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford. Ayling is likely to fill in at centre-back alongside the skipper Liam Cooper with Dallas moving from midfield to right back.
Michail Antonio remains out for this one and it looks like David Moyes will name an unchanged line-up from the 3-1 loss to Manchester United last week.
West Ham likely line-up (5-4-1): Fabianski, Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Creswell, Masuaku, Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals, Haller.
Leeds have the highest tackle average in the league by some distance, averaging 21.4 tackles per-game. Not only do they make a lot of tackles, but they also concede a lot of tackles – especially in the midfield area.
Leeds have conceded 65 tackles to central midfielders in the league so far in 11 matches. That’s an average of 5.91 per game. West Ham play a midfield two of Rice and Soucek and I expect them both to be busy.
The player I have picked out is Declan Rice who is priced at 5/4 for 3+ tackles at Boylesports and Ladbrokes. His tackling stats are much lower this season than previous seasons but given the opposition and the way Rice plays I see it as a good value bet.
Given that Leeds have lots of top tacklers, they tend to have high lines for tackles. One player that stands out as a value bet is Jack Harrison 2+ Tackles priced at 5/4 with Skybet. This has landed in 7 out of 10 matches this season and it’s crazy that Skybet are still offering an odds-against price for this. He is a busy and aggressive winger that is always getting stuck in so 5/4 looks a tasty price.
The final angle I like is the Leeds possession handicap with Virginbet currently at -20.5 at 5/6. This means Leeds need to have 61% or more for this bet to win. Leeds average 56.5% possession this season compared with West Ham who average just 42.4%. It’s not just the possession stats that make this an appealing angle though.
David Moyes will be well aware of the some of the losses that Leeds have suffered recently. Leeds lost 4-1 twice in a row – vs Palace and Leicester. Palace had 35% possession in this game and Leicester had just 32% possession.
Teams have had success vs Leeds with very little possession. I expect Moyes to set up his West Ham team to allow Leeds plenty of time on the ball and try to hit them on the counter.
Leeds vs West Ham – Declan Rice 3+ tackles (5/4 Ladbrokes)
Leeds vs West Ham – Jack Harrison 2+ Tackle (5/4 SkyBet)
Leeds vs West Ham – Leeds -20.5 possession handicap (5/6 Virginbet)