Monday Night Goalfest at the HawthornsStats
WBA v Man United
Jaymes Monte previews an intriguing Monday night fixture as Manchester Untied go to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom…
After a worrying start to the campaign The Baggies reeled off consecutive wins against Spurs and then Burnley to catapult themselves clear of the relegation zone. There was a slightly disappointing 2-1 defeat at Liverpool just before the international break, but Alan Irvine and his side will be feeling considerably happier about life than they were a month ago.
Sandwiched between those two league wins was also a last ditch Capital One Cup victory against Hull, where they were 2-1 behind with just minutes to play.
Saido Berahino has scored four goals in his last three appearances and now has six for the season in all competitions. He is also the joint second top scorer in the Premier League, alongside Sergio Aguero, with five goals.
Manchester United, meanwhile, come into the game in fourth position in the league table, with 11 points from seven games. This despite most media outlets portraying the Louis van Gaal era as a disastrous one to date. Aside from Chelsea’s runaway start to the season United are very much in the thick of it.
The Red Devils have won each of their last two games by a 2-1 scoreline and have picked up nine points from a possible 12 in their last four matches. Angel Di Maria has scored three goals in his last four games, while Radamel Falcao opened his account for Manchester United with what proved to be the winner against Everton last time out.
Chris Brunt missed Northern Ireland’s game against Faroe Islands with a groin problem and is doubtful here, while Claudio Yacob has been ruled out of the game due to personal reasons.
Wayne Rooney serves the second of a three-game ban following the red card that he received in the game against West Ham, but Van Gaal’s injury crisis has eased with the return of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera. Jonny Evans and Ashley Young are still amongst those unavailable.
This game has produced some intriguing results over the past couple of seasons; none more so than the 5-5 draw in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game at the end of the 2012/13 season. There was also a 2-1 win for the Baggies at Old Trafford last season, Berahino and Morgan Amalfitano cancelling out Rooney’s goal. Most recently, however, United restored their authority with a 3-0 victory at the Hawthorns.
With both teams in relatively good form and United yet to win a game away from home, the 8/11 on the visitors looks to be way too short to side with.
But I also wouldn’t be overly enamoured about backing the Baggies at odds of 4/1. Perhaps a small play on the draw at odds of 31/10 is the best option.
One thing that we can be relatively sure of is goals. Each of United’s last four games have seen three or more scored, while the same can be said of West Brom’s previous three. Odds of 7/10 are available on there being more than 2.5, and my standout pick of the game is the 7/4 on Over 3.5 goals.