Manchester United are such an odd team in the league this season. Going into the weekend fifth bottom in the Premier League’s home table, the Red Devils have scored just one non-penalty goal in their five matches at Old Trafford, and picked up their first win on home turf by scraping past West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Yet on the road, they appear unstoppable. Going back to the end of 2019/20, United have won eight consecutive away league games in the top flight for the first time in their history. Granted, none of those wins have been against one of the traditional top clubs, but the good news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is that his team are both a) away from home, and b) facing David Moyes’ West Ham United this weekend.
However, while Moyes’ away record against the top teams is so bad it should be the subject of a government enquiry, at home his Hammers side have done pretty well. In their last two matches against ‘big six’ sides in east London, West Ham have beaten Chelsea and held Manchester City.
The Irons also have a very good home record against United in recent years too. In the post-Ferguson era, the Red Devils have only won two of the seven league meetings at West Ham, and in one of them the home side had Sofiane Feghouli sent off after just 15 minutes.
You have to go back to April 2014 for the last time United won an 11 vs 11 league match at the home of the Hammers, and who was their manager that day? David Moyes. Circle of life, innit?
While there’s a very long way to go, on a point-per-game basis this season is currently Moyes’ best league campaign since 2007/08. West Ham are also second in the league table for home matches, with four wins from five, so perhaps a lack of fans who hate the stadium they’re in is helping them?
Nonetheless, Manchester United’s away form is so good – they’ve scored 23 goals while conceding only six in their eight game winning run – that you have to pick them to win by a couple here.
It feels like there have been more goals in the Premier League this season, yet if you look at the proportion of matches which have paid out on over 2.5 goals then the figure is identical to last season and actually a little down on 2018/19.
But the Red Devils are in the detail. When games go crazy in 2020/21, they go berserk. Like, ‘believing your uncle’s conspiracy theories on Facebook’ level bananas. There were 44 matches which featured at least five goals in the whole of last season, yet with only about a quarter of this campaign completed there have already been 21.
And United have been among the chief architects of this, especially away from home. Their lowest scoring match on the road was their 3-1 win at Everton, with the other three games all featuring exactly five goals.
West Ham’s matches may not have been so lively, with their 3-3 draw at Tottenham the one exception, but there has still been at least three goals in an above-league-average proportion of their matches this season.
A look at the books also shows that all four away games for United have seen both teams score, and it would’ve happened in the last three home matches for West Ham had Ademola Lookman not taken a laughably puny Panenka.
Speaking of penalties, when Manchester United are playing the subject has to be raised. And not only because they win far more than their share, but they also concede plenty too – five this season, the joint-most in the Premier League.
However, Andre Marriner (one of the league’s least penalty friendly referees) is at the helm for this match, so it’s perhaps less likely we’ll see a spot-kick than usual.
Nonetheless, it’s never unwise to pick Bruno Fernandes for a scorer bet in a United game, especially when Marcus Rashford might be unavailable after having to go off in the midweek loss to Paris Saint-Germain.
Fernandes might not have scored against the French side, but he bagged six goals in his preceding four matches for the Red Devils, so he’s their man in form.
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
West Ham v Man Utd tips
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