West Ham United v Sheffield United
Monday 15th February, kick-off 18:00
Live on BT Sport 1
Moyes the new special one
As a West Ham fan myself, I would love to say I knew the club were capable of going on such a run when David Moyes was appointed and full belief and confidence in the appointment, but I would be lying. Hammers fans often have false dawns – remember under Mauricio Pelligrini the talk of Champions League football? We scoffed then, we might not scoff at it now.
Moyes has overseen an incredible transformation and points tally. The total number of points after 23 games is the highest since the magical 1985-86 campaign when they finished third under club legend John Lyall. I was lucky enough to see that team a few times.
Only Manchester City have won more Premier League points than West Ham so far in 2021 – with the Hammers winning five of their seven games in the top flight this year.
In terms of team news, striker Michail Antonio has a hamstring but it’s unclear if he’ll make it, while Angelo Ogbonna is out with an ankle injury.
Blades still alive and kicking
I’m old enough to remember when the Premier League started with the Sky fanfare and the Simple Minds “Alive and Kicking” song. A good track too, and the theme tune at the moment to accompany Chris Wilder’s men and their unlikely pursuit of staying up.
The equation is bleak, but beneath his glossy, shiny puffer jacket is a real fighter in Wilder. Although he is somewhat of a realist too, describing their battle as having both arms tied behind their back with half a blindfold.
They are still two points off West Brom (who gained a valuable point on Sunday) but they are starting find a bit of form.
Striker Lys Mousset is fit again, with wing-back Enda Stevens back training.
It’s a sign of the times with how good West Ham are at the moment that they can be backed at 1.814/5. Whether we want to get involved with them or not at that price though represents poor value. Of course the hosts are on an incredible run of just one defeat in 10 PL games, but I am never in a rush to go mad on odds-on shots for the column.
Sheffield United at 5.49/2 might attract a few backers, after all, they succeeded in winning against Manchester United recently 1-2 and performed with great credit to lose just 1-0 at the Etihad to Manchester City. In both games they had 25% of the ball, and just one shot on target in the latter.
A good performance full of endeavour against Chelsea too means their recent run of three wins in six games represents a massive shift from being winless in 20 prior.
Although to bring a slight dampener to that, their record in London is atrocious – winning just 7.7% of their games in the capital. On the other hand, Moyes has a perfect record in all competitions against the Blades with six out of six.
Moyes is a magician, isn’t he?
I’m tempted to throw in the Blades here for a Draw No Bet purely on those three games mentioned. They won’t have a lot of the ball, but they never do. The Hammers had to work hard with wins against West Brom and Burnley at home, so the 4.03/1 makes a bit of sense.
West Ham have a chance to be London’s top team and rise above Chelsea with a win on Monday, but as highlighted, backing 1.814/5 shots is not the way to go, but the Same Multi Option with the hosts winning and Under 2.5 Goals looks quite a good price for the double at 3.58.
It could be a low-scoring affair, as Sheffield United are hardly likely to be expansive, but they have kept just once Premier League clean sheet in 25 games – and that was at home to shot-shy Newcastle recently. But 1-0 and 2-0 wins certainly seem feasible for the SGM.
And how about Jesse Lingaard – a pretty astute signing from Moyes, and a mutually beneficial one for both parties, as the midfielder needed games, and his versatility is perfect for how Moyes wants his team to play. His two goals against Aston Villa was a sharp reminder of his quality that hasn’t been seen, and backing him in the Anytime Goalscorer market is a healthy 7/2 on the Sportsbook.