CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Saturday evening's showdown between Manchester United and West Brom.
Manchester United vs West Brom| Saturday 21st November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Manchester United’s search for a first win of the season on home soil continues but they welcome struggling West Brom and the hosts will see this as an opportunity to get off of the mark at Old Trafford.
United have had an indifferent start to the season, claiming just 10 points from their seven games so far. They’ve not failed to win their opening five home games of a season since 1972-73 and they will be hoping they don’t equal that record come full time on Saturday night.
West Brom have not exactly hit the ground running and currently sit in the drop-zone. They were the side that many felt would likely be heading straight back down to the Championship and it’s hard to make a case that would suggest anything different.
The Baggies do, however, possess a relatively good record against United of late (winning three of their last five away games against the Red Devils) and will be looking to pull off a shock result.
- Commit on average 11.8 fouls per game when playing at home so far this season.
- Receive on average 9.8 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 4/4 home EPL games this season.
In those games, the opposition has seen a card on 4/4 occasions.
- Have seen under 2.5 goals in SIX of their last SEVEN home matches against the Baggies in all competitions. They’ve also failed to score in THREE of their lost FOUR home games against them.
- Have failed to win any of their last SIX EPL home matches.
- Have conceded more home goals than any other EPL side so far this season.
- No side has gained more points from losing positions than them this season.
- Have only scored the first goal of a game once this season, going on to lose that 1-6 against Spurs.
- Only Fulham have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes (5) than Manchester United this season (4).
- Bruno Fernandes is one of just two players to have had 20+ shots and created 20+ chances so far this season. Mohamed Salah being the other.
- Victor Lindelof played through the pain barrier during the international break but finally relented as he was forced off against France in midweek. He surprisingly managed to train on Thursday.
- Harry Maguire played 90 minutes for England in midweek but his foot had bruising after the game and he will need assessing by United's medical team. He missed training on Thursday.
- Alex Telles is cleared to play this weekend after a COVID-19 scare on international duty with Brazil and even reported for training on Thursday. With Luke Shaw out, Telles has a good run in the team ahead of him.
- A minor back problem kept Anthony Martial out of their win over Sweden in midweek and United will hope he is available to face West Brom on Saturday. Edinson Cavani is the obvious replacement but missed training on Thursday after a long-haul flight from South America.
- Marcus Rashford pulled out of the England squad with a shoulder injury but trained on Thursday and should be fine to start here.
- Fred and Scott McTominay is clearly Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's preferred midfield pairing in big games but it will be interesting to see whether Paul Pogba gets a chance here after a decent international break with France.
- Mason Greenwood could also earn a recall after staying with United over the international break after a tough few weeks.
- Commit on average 9.8 fouls per game when playing at away so far this season.
- Receive on average 13 fouls per game when playing at away so far this season.
- Have seen a card in 3/4 away games so far this season.
- In those games, the opposition has seen 2+ cards on 3/4 occasions and at least ONE card in 4/4.
- Under 2.5 goals has landed in their last FIVE EPL games.
- Have failed to win any of their last EIGHT EPL matches.
- Have won THREE of their last FIVE away league games against Manchester United, drawing ONE and losing the other.
- Have failed to score in FOUR of their last FIVE EPL games.
- Are one of THREE sides yet to concede in the opening 15 minutes of their EPL games this season.
- West Brom have confirmed two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss out here, but declined to reveal who.
- Slaven Bilic at least welcomes back Branislav Ivanovic and Matheus Pereira from periods in self-isolation. West Brom are also hopeful Callum Robinson will be available.
- The Baggies gave a decent account of themselves against Tottenham before the break and Bilic may go with the same side here.
- Sam Johnstone came through the Manchester United academy and will line up against his boyhood club for the first time on Saturday.
Referee: David Coote
- Averages FOUR yellow cards per game this season after handing out 16 in his FOUR games officiated so far this season.
- Has handed the home side at least a card in 18 of his last 20 games officiated (90%).
United have seen 2+ cards in every single home game this season and West Brom’s opponents away have seen 2+ cards in 3/4 games (75%). It’s not a big sample size but with the Red Devils eager to pick up their first win of the season, I can see a few dodgy tackles going in to stop West Brom from countering.
Referee Coote averages four cards per game so far and has shown the home side at least a card in 18 of his last 20 games officiated. I think the home side see at least two here.
My second pick is a Bet Builder of United to see a card, United to score fewer than three goals and for West Brom to see at least 10 free-kicks (offsides do count).
I’ve just mentioned my reasoning for the card section. United have failed to score more than one goal at home so far this season and are also yet to win at Old Trafford. West Brom will, in the words of Chris Kamara, defend like beavers and I think they’ll frustrate Solskjaer’s side.
West Brom are the second most fouled side in the league when playing away from home and see on average 13 fouls per game – with offsides counting towards the total, I think this section lands with ease.