CARDS specialist Chris Goodwin (@CGeorgeGamble) picks out his favourite fancies from Sunday night's showdown between Man Utd and West Ham.
Manchester United vs West Ham | Sunday 14th March 2021, 19:15 | Sky Sports
Manchester United play host to a side who are without a doubt the most improved team this year.
West Ham are the embodiment of everything David Moyes likes to instil in his teams. Last season saw them fizzle out and finish just five points above the relegation zone but now they’ve got something to fight for – a place in next season Champions League and a win here will see them go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, but with a game in hand.
The Red Devils will be feeling slightly despondent after conceding a last gasp equaliser in the Europa League match against AC Milan during the week.
They’ll want to get back on track with another win but they may find goals harder to come by now that Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are rumoured to have joined Edinson Cavani on the injury list.
A loss for the Red Devils here will see West Ham go to within three points of them. Given United have never kept four clean sheets in a row under Solskjaer, you have to feel that West Ham have a great chance of getting something out of this one.
● Undefeated in their last sixteen home matches against The Hammers.
● Have been less than five match cards in their last seven games and also in their last eight against West Ham.
● Martial, Rashford and Cavani are major doubts, meaning their second-highest goalscorer (behind Bruno Fernandes) available to them is Scott McTominay with four goals.
● Are looking to keep their fourth clean sheet in a row for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
● Manchester United are suddenly short in attack with Anthony Martial now expected to join Edinson Cavani on the sidelines for Sunday's game after being forced off against AC Milan on Thursday. With Marcus Rashford also a massive doubt, Amad Diallo has a decent chance of a Premier League debut from the off after his goal against Milan.
● Up against a physical side like West Ham, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Nemanja Matic retain his place in the side on Sunday.
● Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof will return to the starting XI this weekend after being rested on Thursday.
● Donny van de Beek, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba are all expected to miss out once again for the home side. David de Gea is back in Manchester but is self-isolating and may not be available in time for Sunday's game.
● Have nine points more than they achieved last season with eleven games remaining.
● Will be without star man Jesse Lingard for this one due to being ineligible against his parent club.
● David Moyes has never won an away EPL game at Old Trafford, drawing four and losing nine.
● West Ham will be without star man Jesse Lingard for Sunday's trip to Old Trafford due to the terms in his loan agreement from parent club Manchester United.
● Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma will likely compete for one spot in the starting XI on Sunday.
● Lukasz Fabianski recovered from injury to start against Leeds on Monday but No.2 Darren Randolph missed out and remains a doubt here along with right-back Ryan Fredericks.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
● Averaging just 2.94 cards per game this season after awarding 47 yellows in 16 appearances.
● Oversaw West Ham’s away game to Chelsea but Moyes side didn’t see a single card.
My first pick is for Declan Rice to have 2+ shots and this is more of a price play. With Manchester United are missing a number of key players going into this one, The Hammers will have an excellent chance to end a dismal run against The Red Devils away from home.
Manchester United are conceding an average of 10+ shots per game and Declan Rice has had 2+ shots in eight of his 27 appearances so far this season – including in the reverse fixture! That means he has had two or more shots in around 30% of his games this season.
Skybet is offering a price of 7/2 which gives us an implied probability of just 22%. I think this is overpriced and I think West Ham will create openings with Rice making late runs and having a pop at goal. He’s also a threat from set-pieces and as such, this is a price I like the look of.
Secondly, I’m going with a betbuilder. I’m expecting both teams to find the net and for there to be under four-match goals.
This bet has landed in three of the last six games when these two have met, but with the likes of Rashford, Cavani and Martial all potentially being unavailable then I think a hatful of goals is unlikely.
The Hammers are in great form and are real champions league place contenders. They’ve found the net in four of their five away games against the big six this season and I fancy them to do so again.
I’d wait for the official lineups but this price of 11/5 (3.2) is too good to turn down. If the price changes before kick-off then I’d take as low as 15/8 (2.88).