Mark O'Haire previews the Super Sunday clash between West Ham and Everton, and he is siding with goals in a must-win game for both sides.
2pts Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (11/10 SkyBet)
1pt Jesse Lingard 3+ Total Shots (6/5 SkyBet)
Returning West Ham forward Michail Antonio said the Hammers will not give up on their dream of securing Champions League football after scoring twice in a comeback victory over Burnley on Monday night. The Londoners moved up to fifth in the table, just three points behind Chelsea in fourth, with four games of the season remaining.
Antonio admitted, “It would be unbelievable. Everybody wants to play in the Champions League. I have been here a few years and there have been so many seasons we were fighting to stay in the league and now we have the opportunity for top four. We are not going to give up on it. We will keep fighting, keep pushing.”
West Ham boss David Moyes suggested his side would probably need to win all four of their final fixtures to realise their top-four ambitions, beginning with Super Sunday’s showdown against Everton. However, the Hammers showed they have the stomach for the fight after a buoyant display at Turf Moor that came on the back of damaging back-to-back defeats.
Moyes’ men fired in 22 attempts on Monday evening and fashioned numerous opportunities with Said Benrahma particularly impressive, Antonio inspiring after injury and Manuel Lanzini shining in the absence of Declan Rice and Mark Noble. With Aaron Cresswell also now back in the fold, West Ham again provide plenty of threat from set-pieces too.
In terms of chances created and Expected Goals (xG) generated, West Ham are amongst the Premier League’s front-runners in 2020/21. But peculiarly for a Moyes-led team, the Hammers haven’t been quite so eye-catching at denying opponents goalscoring opportunities, silencing only three of their past 16 league rivals since mid-January.
Over the past eight outings, the hosts have allowed the fifth-highest non-penalty xG (npxG) per-game figure (1.70), with that number becoming particularly prominent since Rice’s latest injury. West Ham have leaked nine goals in their last five without England’s energetic holding midfielder, who is hoping to be available again on Sunday.
Regardless, an entertaining encounter could be on the cards at the London Stadium. Matches here have averaged a bulbous 2.94 goals per-game with 10/17 (59%) contests breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, with the same figure paying-out for Both Teams To Score backers, the bulk of which came against fellow top-half teams.
Everton arrive having notched in 13 of 16 games as guests, and have star summer signing James Rodriguez expected to start once again. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin back in scoring form, plus Richarlison’s tireless efforts in the final-third, Carlo Ancelotti’s troops have the capability to provide plenty of problems for West Ham.
The Merseysiders have gotten on the scoresheet in 13 of 15 match-ups with top-half foes, so there’s an expectation on Everton grabbing at least a goal in the capital, although predicting what sort of performance we’ll get from the Ancelotti’s side is a little more hazardous. Everton boast the division’s third-best away points per-game record, yet underlying numbers suggest the Toffees haven’t always impressed on the road.
Nevertheless, European qualification is essential for Everton so a front-foot display is demanded by frustrated fans, potentially leading us towards an exciting, goal-filled game. With that in mind, taking the 11/10 (SkyBet) available on OVER 2.5 GOALS AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE holds plenty of appeal with the goal expectancy hovering around the 2.90 mark.
Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard has continued to play a key role in West Ham’s adventurous attacking efforts, attempting 32 shots and landing 18 on-target efforts across his first 12 appearances in Hammers colours. The Manchester United loanee has fired in a minimum of three shots at goal in six of those tussles and looks overpriced at 6/5 (SkyBet). Advise is the side with JESSE LINGARD TO HAVE 3+ TOTAL SHOTS.
Score prediction: West Ham 2-1 Everton (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Odds correct at 1150 BST (07/05/21)
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