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Premier League: Ole Back Under Pressure Again?

Premier League: Ole Back Under Pressure Again?

West Ham United vs Manchester United

There is nothing quite like the Premier League merry-go-round, whether that be transfer speculation, the frenzied intensity of matchday or managerial casualties.

One man who has been supposedly one defeat from losing his job on a number of occasions during the past 15 months is Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

And after seeing his side go down to 10 men (some critics suggest because of his lack of action) and lose in the Champions League in midweek, then the pressure seems to be mounting on the Norwegian again.

Certainly, as he approaches the second anniversary of his appointment as interim boss at Old Trafford, failure to win in east London will undoubtedly lead to even more headlines questioning his credentials for the biggest job in English football.

However, the managerial position is merely one of a number of compelling backstories to this encounter.

Talking Points

Clashes between these two sides have produced plenty of Premier League highlights over the years.

For example, who remembers the final day showdown in 1995 when goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko made a string of fine saves to deny United the title; or the time at Old Trafford in 2000 when West Ham had the audacity to take an early lead and were promptly hammered 7-1; or the goal Carlos Tevez scored at the same venue seven years later to keep the Hammers up before promptly joining United two months later?

There are many more I could mention too.

I suppose the other question ahead of this encounter is which of these two often-inconsistent sides will turn up.

In the words of boss David Moyes, West Ham may not have played well on Monday night but saw off a stubborn Aston Villa side – perhaps something they would not have achieved not so long ago.

They have also enjoyed some fine successes so far this term, including a 3-0 win at Leicester, a 4-0 hammering of Wolves and an incredible comeback from 3-0 down to draw at Spurs.

Likewise, United have impressed when on song, winning 4-1 at Newcastle, 3-1 at Everton and, in Europe, even winning 2-1 in Paris against last season’s defeated Champions League finalists Paris St Germain.

Yet it’s the lack of consistency which must infuriate both men, particularly Solskjaer who has a much bigger pool of players to select from than his opposite number.

Another aspect which adds to the intrigue about this game is the fact up to 2,000 home supporters will be permitted to watch in person.

With some areas of England under stricter conditions than others, and neither Burnley nor Manchester City able to welcome fans back in Saturday’s earlier kick-offs, it means the London Stadium will see fans watch a top-flight game for the first time since March – even if it is still likely to feel sparse with only 2,000 of the 60,000 seats being filled.

For the Hammers, who have close to a fully-fit squad to choose from with Andriy Yarmolenko the only doubt, they will be hopeful of securing a third successive home win against United for the first time since December 1977.

For United, Marcus Rashford is a serious doubt but, otherwise, most first-choice players should be available for selection, including Bruno Fernandes.

The Portuguese playmaker has scored in each of his last five league away games. Another goal on Saturday would see him become the first United player to score in six on the bounce since the great Denis Law in March 1964.

Two sides separated by four places yet just one point apart in the Premier League table, a fascinating contest awaits.


Last season, West Ham triumphed 2-0 at home and held United at Old Trafford in the penultimate league game of the season.

United have lost on both their last visits and last won against the Hammers on their own turf in January 2017 when Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted in a 2-0 win.

On that occasion, West Ham were reduced to 10 men after just 15 minutes when Sofiane Feghouli was dismissed – a claim for wrongful dismissal was upheld and the red card later is withdrawn, although that didn’t help West Ham.

That remains their only league victory against the Hammers in East London since a Wayne Rooney wonder goal in 2014 – when Moyes was still in charge of United.

Overall, United have 66 victories in their clashes to West Ham’s 45 with a further 32 draws.

Betting Tip

Manchester United Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.44

The SBOTOP Premier League betting odds favour a United win and the Red Devils can be backed 1X2 @ 2.05 and Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.44.

West Ham, by contrast, are available 1X2 @ 3.55 and Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.14.

A re-run of their two meetings last season offer attractive payouts: correct score 2-0 @ 23.00 and 1-1 @ 6.20.

If you expect goals, how about over 2.75 of them @ 2.02, over 3.00 goals @ 2.31 and total goal 2-3 @ 1.96.

I am actually going to go for a sneaky away win here as the odds are very tempting.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.





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James Davis
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