Whenever a member of the League Managers Association holds a house party, they must be delighted when David Moyes can make it. He’s such a thoughtful guest, you see. Sorts out his rubbish into the correct recycling bins, and probably washes up too.
It must be why he’s won the Manager Of The Month as often as he has – only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have won it more times. No, really.
But he really is the most considerate visitor, especially when he’s allowed to go to one of the big boy’s houses. Since January 2011, Moyes has taken his teams to face the league’s big six clubs 35 times, and has come away with 10 draws and 25 defeats. And that includes five matches in charge of the then defending champions Manchester United, don’t forget.
So with a win all-but-assuring the Red Devils of a top four finish ahead of their final day showdown with Leicester, there’s few people they’d rather see coming over the hill than their former manager. A boost after their FA Cup semi-final horror show would be welcome too.
And the Hammers don’t really have anything to play for, even after Aston Villa managed to beat Arsenal on Tuesday night. West Ham’s goal difference advantage is such that they are effectively safe regardless.
Plus if Moyes is capable of anything in fixtures such as these, it’s avoiding a hiding. While his record of 25 losses in the last decade is ugly, only five of the defeats have been by more than two goals. In other words, take your gentle beating and don’t slam the door on your way out, David. Good lad.
The Red Devils’ recent hot streak has been a little overrated though – four of their five league victories since the restart have been against teams who finished this weekend in the bottom seven – and West Ham did win at Chelsea earlier in the season under Manuel Pellegrini.
However, the stats from that match suggested a 3-1 home win would’ve been a fairer score line, so don’t read too much to into it. Take a handicap bet here to improve your odds, but bear in mind that Moyes’ boys don’t usually lose by many.
Selection: Manchester United to win -1
West Ham might not be expected to get a result, but they are in form in front of goal. The Hammers have scored 12 times in their last five league matches, having only averaged 1.1 goals per game prior to that in 2019/20.
But just as United have got good results against weak teams, the same applies here, with Moyes’ team scoring plenty against the poor defences of the likes of Norwich and Chelsea. In the Scot’s two spells in east London, West Ham have only scored seven goals in their nine away matches against the top sides.
Add in that playing games every three days appears to be catching up with United, and they’re unlikely to decimate Dave’s defence too heavily.
Selection: Under 2.5 goals
United won this fixture 2-1 last season, with both goals coming from the penalty spot. Like many referees from the Greater Manchester area, Paul Tierney – the man in black here – has given more penalties to City and United than any other clubs.
West Ham have conceded six spot kicks this term, with five of them coming against the current top four teams. If you think a penalty for the home side appears inevitable, back Bruno Fernandes to score. Away from him, Marcus Rashford is the top league scorer at Old Trafford this season, and will take the spot kick if Fernandes is rested.
Selection: Marcus Rashford to score anytime
For West Ham, goals away at the big clubs are pretty rare. They scored three in 2018/19, and it was the three As who got them: Arnautovic, Anderson and Antonio.
This year, their big away game scorers have been somewhat more unusual, as Aaron Cresswell got the winner at Stamford Bridge, before Diop and Fornals netted at Liverpool. Clearly to score for the Hammers in a tough away game, your surname has to be early in the alphabet.
With rock solid logic like that, if you want a scorer bet for West Ham then go for Michail Antonio. He has scored seven of his nine league goals this season in the last five matches, and that represents 20 per cent of his total Premier League goals from the last five seasons. He’s in the form of his life.
Selection: Michail Antonio to score anytime
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