West Ham vs West Brom | Tuesday 19th January 2021, 18:00 | BT Sport
My first angle here is to take the evens on Betfair on Under 2.5 Goals. I was really surprised to see this at such a price and while there are reasons for this, I think it is far too big.
There have been just three goals in The Hammers last four games, with no more than a single goal in any of them. Moreover, if you look at their matches against sides in the bottom eight of the table (those likely to be in a relegation scrap), five of the seven have seen two goals or fewer.
West Ham’s top league goalscorer this season is central midfielder Tomas Soucek, who has five to his name. Aside from that Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen both have four goals to their name but it is clear that West Ham are missing a prolific marksman.
Their opponents West Brom have far bigger concerns going forward. Yes, they managed three goals against local rivals Wolves, but they consisted of two penalties and a headed goal from a centre back and in their previous five games had managed just two goals – another from the same centre half and an own goal.
West Brom clearly have problems at the back, as is evidence by the fact that they have conceded 15 goals in five games under new manager Sam Allardyce. However, I don’t think that will be a long-term statistic and while The Baggies clearly need to improve at the back, I do have confidence that Allardyce will improve them in this area.
There is of greater concern going forward as they have scored just 14 goals in 18 games but this actually two more than they were expected to score. Being honest, I struggle to see my side scoring, which gives me greater confidence that Under 2.5 Goals is the angle, especially given that The Hammers have only managed 15 goals in their last 14 matches.
I was looking as an alternative bet and was actually looking for the price of Craig Dawson in the anytime goalscorer market, with the West Ham centre back facing his former club, who have really struggled from set pieces recently. However, 9/1 is not big enough for me to get involved, so I will side with a West Brom player instead.
Semi Ajayi does look appealing at 16/1 given that he has scored in two of his last four matches but it is the 5/1 Paddy Power are offering on Mateus Pereira to score that is the angle I will go with.
The Brazilian scored twice (both penalties against Wolves on Saturday) and I think such a price is always value on a penalty taker when there are penalties awarded in around 40% of matches this season.
Pereira is playing more centrally recently and will likely be on set piece duties as well and as he showed against Everton, he is phenomenal from dead ball situations. For various reasons he has struggled this season, but if West Brom are to mount any kind of survival push, he will be instrumental. He is The Baggies best player and if they are to score, I expect it to be him.
West Ham vs West Brom – Under 2.5 Goals (1/1 Betfair)
West Ham vs West Brom – Mateus Pereira to score (5/1 Paddy Power)