Manchester United head to West Brom looking to bolster fast-growing claims that they can qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Those beliefs have since been quashed in this study carried out by the news.bwin stats boffins anyway, but failure to prevail at The Hawthorns will see these doubts seep into the mainstream media.
The Red Devils’ fine form rightly makes them favourites, but whether they’ve been good enough to vindicate their price being this short is debateable.
Here’s why the hosts won’t lose this weekend:
The Baggies are no push over on their own patch.
Backing any visitor to win at The Hawthorns is a dangerous game, as several punters will have doubtless discovered this term.
Only three times since August have forced West Brom to surrender the spoils in front of the faithful, winning three and drawing two of their five post-Boxing Day battles in the Premier League.
Don’t be deceived by Man Utd’s form spike.
The Red Devils have won four straight across all competitions, but the level of adversary wasn’t great.
League One’s Shrewsbury and Denmark’s Midtyjlland were walloped in the FA Cup and Europa League, though obviously, their standard is obviously below that of the Baggies.
Their victory over Arsenal was impressive, but they laboured against Watford in midweek, with the Hornets squandering ample chances to win at Old Trafford, before a Juan Mata wonder goal snared the points for United.
West Brom have a decent record against United of late.
Tony Pulis’ side have been one of the biggest to profit from Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, winning twice and drawing once in the five renewals since the Scot left.
The Red Devils don’t fare too well against those stationed below the Premier League’s waistline.
While their record against top-half teams is splendid – their 1.85 points-per-game average is the best in the Premier League – their exploits against those based 11th or lower are way off the required standard.
They’ve failed to win nine of 15 fixtures against bottom-half sides, losing four of these, which contributes to an average of just 1.53 points-per-game.
It’s not the worst sounding effort, but 12 rivals boast a better one.