Adrian Clarke went 2/2 in the Premier League last time out and is back refreshed and ready to go ahead of a bumper next few weeks…
It was fantastic to sign off for the international break with a pair of goals angle winners last time out, and that’s the aim of the game once more as the Premier League swings back into town…
OPPOSING GOALS WHEN LOW-SCORING WEST HAM HOST WOLVES
Finding the back of the net just three times each this season, West Ham United versus Wolverhampton Wanderers doesn’t have the feel of a classic in waiting.
That’s one goal every 210 minutes each by the way…
Where Bruno Lage’s Wolves are concerned, none of this comes as a real surprise. They were the lowest scoring survivors from last season’s Premier League, and their annual pattern of good-football-but-not-that-much-excitement continues apace.
They don’t let many in (three clean sheets is impressive) but a relatively lightweight and often wasteful forward line does limit their capabilities as a side.
Wolves matches averaged the fewest goals last season (2.13), and this time around, there’s been even less goalmouth action.
Once again, they lead the way, but on 1.43 goals a game.
David Moyes’ Hammers aren’t a whole lot more thrilling to watch at the moment either. Games involving the East End boys average a measly 1.71 goals.
It’s been an unusually flat start to the campaign for West Ham United. They speculated a lot of money on the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca without having an obvious plan on how to use them.
It doesn’t help that last season’s talisman Jarrod Bowen is out of sorts. The England winger has mustered just one shot on target since 2022-23 got underway and has been strangely quiet.
His rapport with Michail Antonio has ground to a halt too, which is bound to have played a part.
West Ham are keeping things tight, and no one has put them to the sword yet, but creativity has been minimal to say the least.
With Bournemouth the only top-flight side to boast a lower xG in open play, the alarm bells must be ringing inside the corridor of powers.
When making a selection, I think it’s pretty clear that I want to oppose goals.
A line of Under 2.0/2.5 was under consideration at 1.91, but on this occasion, I lean towards BTTS NO instead.
West Ham and Wolves have failed to score in four of their seven games each so far, and I am willing to take a punt that at least one of them will blank again.
Scoring goals is a big issue for both of them.
At Matchbook, the price has already been trimmed down because of interest, so my advice is to try to claim the 1.95 on BTTS NO if it’s still available.
Last season this fixture saw a pair of narrow 1-0 home wins apiece. Something similar looks likely on Saturday evening.
MANCHESTER CITY’S CLASS TO PREVAIL AGAINST IMPROVING UNITED
Sir Alex Ferguson was the last Manchester United gaffer to avoid defeat in his first derby match at the helm in 1987.
Five managers have come and gone since then, all losing to Manchester City first time around, so Erik ten Hag does have recent history against him coming into Sunday’s clash at the Etihad.
He also has an inferior team to the reigning champions, which is why his new side will go off as 8.6 underdogs.
Four straight wins suggest the Dutchman is on the right track though, and their 3-1 triumph at home to leaders Arsenal showcased their ability to remain competitive in the big matches.
Form is better, but United’s momentum has been halted by a month-long break, which I think counts against them coming into this high-stakes encounter.
By the time they shake off any rust, they could be already trailing to a team that’s netted more first-half goals than anyone so far this season.
Incidentally, Ten Hag’s slow-starting side has leaked 75 per cent of their goals before half-time, which is not ideal.
Do I think Manchester United can be more competitive than they were on their last visit across the city in March? Yes I do.
They defended stoutly against Arsenal, Southampton and Leicester City, keeping clean sheets on their last two away trips.
But this is City. Erling Haaland’s City. Kevin de Bruyne’s City. A team that has won seven on the trot at home in Premier League action.
So, for all their minor little faults, especially at the back (and United’s obvious threat on the break) you have to say that the champions are absolutely the most likely winners here.
Pairing them with Under 4.5 goals is always fraught with danger, but before the hiding they dished out in this match last term, the previous ten Manchester derbies had all featured less than five goals.
I believe a price of 1.98 represents good value if you fancy backing a City win with Under 4.5 goals.
It’s some jump from 1.39 on the straight win, and the only home win scores that ruin the bet are 3-2, 4-1, 4-2, 5-0, 6-0 or more.
I envisage an improving Red Devils outfit avoiding a hammering on this occasion, but the safe call here has to be a Manchester City victory.
- West Ham vs Wolves BTTS NO (1.95)
- Manchester City & Under 4.5 goals vs Manchester United (1.98)
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