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West Ham and Manchester United promise little in the way of goals

| 17.04.2013

West Ham are in arguably their finest form since November, which was the last time they went three league games without tasting defeat, and they’ve got previous when it comes to proving hard for Manchester United to handle. The humiliating disorganisation of that 4-3 win at Reading earlier in the campaign has shocked United into becoming away grinders, making under 2.5 goals an attractive bet at 1/1 with Coral.

West Ham’s recent renaissance has been built from the back, with the Welsh international James Collins superbly martialing the back line in a run of one defeat in five since the end of February. During that sequence they’ve kept two clean sheets and conceded no more than a single goal on two further occasions.

Their visitors have been rock-solid in league away games since losing at Carrow Road back in November, dropping just four points from a possible 27 on offer, but their wins have – with the exception of a 4-0 success at hibernating Wigan – been low scoring affairs, the Red Devils notching twice or less in the other six of those successes.

As they’ve not been running riot away from Old Trafford, United have had to rely on defensive rigidity to glean their away wins, last shipping more than one away league goal against Manchester City back in December.

Just four sides have toppled the Hammers in league action at Upton Park this season – all have been incumbents of the top seven – and only one (Arsenal has won by more a single goal). Coral go 1/1 about under 2.5 total match goals.

If the hosts are to pierce the United rear guard, as they did twice when the sides clashed in the East End in the FA Cup, then aerial bombardment is likely to be their weapon of choice. James Collins was irrepressible from corners on that occasion, notching both goals – he’s available at 25/1 to score first or to score last and 8/1 to ripple the onion bag at any time.

Those are the only goals the chrome-domed centre half has netted this term and Hammers front man Andy Carroll may be a better bet to profit from endless claret and blue deliveries. He’s notched  four in his last five to belatedly repay Sam Allardyce’s faith in him and can be backed at 8/1 to score first or last and 11/4 to register at any time in proceedings.