West Ham vs Manchester City | Sunday 15th May 2022, 14:00 | Sky Sports
West Ham had just the one game last week – thumping rock-bottom Norwich 4-0. Meanwhile, title-chasing Manchester City made significant progress in their quest for a sixth Premier League title. A dominating display at The Etihad saw the Citizens 5-0 against Newcastle before travelling to Wolves in midweek.
Another game, another five strikes for City on Wednesday. Standard services resumed at Molineux withPep Guardiola's side easing past the out-of-form Wolves. There was no stopping Kevin De Bruyne and there was absolutely no stopping his stunning hat-trick goal, putting Sunday's visitors a step closer to a successful defence of their Premier League crown.
West Ham XI: Fabianski; Masuaku, Cresswell, Zouma, Coufal; Rice, Soucek; Fornals, Benrahma, Bowen; Antonio
Manchester City XI: Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Ake, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri; B.Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Jesus
During the 2021/2022 campaign the Hammers have struggled to shut the back door in the final 15 minutes of their matches, conceding 12 goals in the 76-90 minute bracket – the highest of any 15-minute segment. Unfortunately for David Moyes, this segment is City's most potent time to score a goal or three! City have netted 20 goals from the 76th minute onwards in the 2021/22 PL season.
The last 10 matches between these two sides have seen four or fewer cards. Anthony Taylor is the man with the whistle for this, he averages just 3.5 cards per-game. Interestingly, Taylor's card average increases significantly to 4.9 when he is officiating in the Champions League.
The lead bookmaker, Bet365, have set the cards line at 3.5 for Sunday. The Under 3.5 line has been priced at a short 8/13. Personally, I feel they have priced this market well and I can't spot any value in the card market for this one.
However, Bet365 opened with some very tasty passing lines for the Hammers. City, rightly so, have Rodri at 93.5 and Cancelo at 85.5. I can’t see any value in playing the overs or unders for these two players, but the West Ham personnel are offering good value for an overs play.
The skipper, Declan Rice, has an over/under line of 43.5. Rice achieved 41 passes at The Etihad earlier on in the season, this was with just 31% possession. I expect West Ham will have slightly more of the ball in the home match as they also have an incentive for this – securing their European status next season.
Rice has also achieved over 43.5 passes in his last 12 Premier League matches where he has featured for more than 45 minutes. This is an impressive strike rate for the odds that are on offer (5/6).
Ladbrokes are offering 8/15 for 40+, but they are also offering 1/1 for 45+. This requires Rice to attempt 45 or more passes. My official tip will be with Bet365 as you will be more likely to get worthy stakes with them. I would also advise taking the 45+ line at Ladbrokes/Coral if you do not have the option of Bet365.
Aaron Cresswell is the other player that has been priced up by Bet365. His line of 40.5 looks extremely generous considering that he has the small possibility of playing in a centre-back role alongside Kurt Zouma. Cresswell has landed this line in 12 of his last 13 Premier League matches. This is another impressive strike rate for the odds on offer (5/6).
Ladbrokes have priced 40+ passes at 8/15, although these are one-way markets as a result I would not recommend using this price as a guideline. 45+ passes is 11/10 at Ladbrokes, however this is something I will be looking at on the day as the lineups are announced. Be sure to check my Twitter page for a potential angle on the Cresswell alternative lines.
Cresswell notched up 46 passes at Stamford Bridge, where Hammers only had 33% possession. This is a similar figure to my expectations of the West Ham possession on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, there is very low value in combining these two bets into a Bet Builder as I would want a much more generous price of 8/5 for both of these selections combined. I would advise the singles to be played and a maximum line of 45.5 for Rice and maximum of 44.5 for Cresswell.