Friday, January 28

West Ham vs Leeds: Different competition, same result for Hammers

In recent weeks the story around West Ham has been the sensational form of Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini, the two men have scored six of the team’s last seven goals, and were both in the scoresheet as the Hammers knocked Leeds out of the FA Cup last week.

Bowen was excellent in midweek, scoring both goals in their 2-0 win over Norwich City, and will fancy his chances against a Leeds side who have struggled to keep opponents out this term. In all competitions Marcelo Bielsa’s side have kept three Premier League clean sheets, and have conceded 21 in their last seven games.

While that record is perhaps a touch misleading, a 7-0 loss to Manchester City contributing a third of those goals, they have certainly had problems defensively. Fortunately for Bielsa, they have a prolific winner of their own to worry their hosts.

Raphinha has eight goals this season, six more than any teammate, and has been the subject of a number of admiring glances from the likes of Liverpool this season. The Brazilian started on the bench last week and Leeds struggled to consistently threaten, he will certainly return to the lineup on Sunday and will be relied upon to worry a West Ham side who have conceded the most goals of the top six.

Leeds games are notoriously very open affairs and both Bowen and Raphinha are a huge threat to score, particularly on the break. A Bet Builder of both men to score anytime is very nicely priced @ 10.67.

Cresswell returning adds set piece threat

West Ham’s defence received a major boost on Wednesday night with fullback Aaron Cresswell returning from a spell on the sidelines. The 32-year-old had missed the last 10 games with a back injury and was well covered by Ben Johnson but while his impact on the defence is a great sign for David Moyes his set piece delivery could arguably have a bigger impact.

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The likes of Bowen, Lanzini and Pablo Fornals have rotated corner and free kick duties but Cresswell will slot back in as the senior taker and with a number of aerials threats the Hammers will fancy their chances.

Four different West Ham centre-backs have found the net this season, all from corners, and the addition of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice provides two more excellent threats.

Leeds have had their own set piece struggles this season too so it certainly looks as though Cresswell could make a difference. The fullback is 3.7511/4 to have an assist anytime in the game and I think that is well worth a look.

Moyes continues Leeds dominance

David Moyes holds a unique record against Leeds United, and Sunday afternoon could well see him extend that record. Across his whole career he is unbeaten against the Yorkshire men, winning six of his seven matches and also boasts the best winning percentage among Premier League managers who have faced Leeds at least five times.

Strangely, Moyes’ opposite number has also struggled on his trips to the capital, picking up just the one win in eight trips to London so all signs certainly point towards a home win. With the Hammers almost back to full strength and seemingly recovered from a December slump in form it could be a long day for Bielsa and his coaching staff.

Leeds are without at least 11 members of the first team squad and are seemingly having to call up an ever increasing number of players from the youth team in order to fulfill a matchday squad. While these players are certainly capable and willing to work hard in Bielsa’s high pressing system, their inexperience certainly shows at times. I would expect Wes Ham, who have a number of wily operators throughout their team to put Leeds keeper Ilan Meslier under a lot of pressure at the London Stadium.

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West Ham to win and Over 2.5 goals 2.1511/10 and unless Raphinha turns in a man of the match performance it is difficult to look past a West Ham win.

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