Manchester United's inconsistencies have been glaring this season, and with that in mind, Alan Dudman is laying the hosts this weekend against West Brom...
"Solkskjaer's men have struggled to find the motivation and desire, and if it isn't right for Saturday, backing at 1/3 is a complete no-go."
Manchester United v West Brom
Saturday 21st November, kick-off 20:00
Live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate
United's inconsistencies still a worry despite Everton win
Manchester United's inconsistent start to the season is as intriguing as it is mystifying. In the space of a few weeks, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's team managed to beat PSG and Leipzig, but fail in a rather embarrassing fashion to Istanbul Basaksehir. They also were blunted in a dreadful game at Old Trafford to lose to Arsenal 0-1, yet sparkled the last time they were in action when slamming Everton 1-3. It was their diamond formation that glittered against the French champions, but the same formation let them down against the Gunners.
Sixties British songsmith Donovan was so cool, he never slept, he just "crashed", and United are crashing too frequently for their supporters, but it's far from cool. Unless you've been laying them of course. With just 10 points accrued, United are in unfamiliar territory in 14th place.
Solskjaer was rumoured to be one defeat away from losing his job prior to the Everton game, and here lies the common theme. When United have been under pressure in the big games, they have found something. Perhaps the Norwegian's great flexibility in terms of his formation is now turning into his Achilles' heel, though, and one doesn't quite know what the best system is.
The Red Devils could welcome back Alex Telles, who recently tested negative for Covid-19 whilst away on international duty, and his possible inclusion would be a like-for-like switch with Luke Shaw facing a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Ray of hope for Bilic from Tottenham performance
Slaven Bilic's lot over at West Brom is not quite so muddled, as the Baggies are expected to go down, and probably will looking at their price of 1.422/5 in the Relegation market. Bilic is clearly short of a bit of quality, which is why the recent departure of Ahmed Hegazi to Al-Ittihad was all the more puzzling.
Whilst Manchester United avoided their worst possible start to a season with seven games played with their Everton win, the Baggies ensured they recorded their worst start since 1985 following their most-recent 1-0 loss at home to Tottenham.
The charismatic Bilic was not left in total despair following that defeat, insisting another performance resembling the Spurs game could gain them their first win. They pressed high up the pitch and were superbly organised by reducing the Spurs' tempo, but another game without a goal means they have not scored in four of their last five matches. It was a much-improved effort from their 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Fulham - but their lack of marking cost them dearly.
Only Burnley and Sheffield United are below them.
The case to be made for laying the hosts
With Manchester United's home record of W0 D1 L3, they hardly are screaming to backed at 1.341/3, and we've seen plenty of long odds-on shots stuffed like a Dundee cake this season, especially in this rather unconventional period. I previewed Chelsea against Southampton last month, and the Blues were a similar sort of price and were foiled by the draw.
I had priced up this game in my head well in advance and there's every reason to have a go laying at such short odds.
United's prowess has been in the big games, and apologies to Baggies' supporters, but this cannot be billed as one. Solkskjaer's men have struggled to find the motivation and desire, and if it isn't right for Saturday, backing at 1/3 is a complete no-go.
There's also the issue of the international break, or lack of break. Players must be screaming for a rest.
And we also have the Opta stat as a back-up; as West Brom have won three of their five away league games against the Red Devils - although prior they had won just once in 31. Of course, the hosts could hit their straps and the Portuguese wizard Bruno Fernandes could star in a massive win, but at the moment, I don't think you can trust United to back-up any sort of performance.
Incidentally, if you like backing shorties, you could boost the price of United from 2/7 by using the SAME GAME MULTI on the SPORTSBOOK. Placing the home win and Fernandes in the Anytime Goalscorer market gives odds of 3.37. Given Fernandes takes spot-kicks, free-kicks, and has scored in four Premier League matches, it's a nice little way of boosting the bet on a home win.
The only way West Brom can get something from this is if they can defend and press as well as they did against Spurs, and for that reason there could be some mileage in backing in the Under 2.5 Goals betting.
Often there's a massive swing in the 2.5 market, but it can often be way out. The Over 2.5 looks far too short at 1.674/6, as the expected onslaught from United's rich attacking talent has swayed the thinking there, so we can have a dart at the 2.427/5 price.
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Alan Dudman's 2020 Premier League P&L