West Ham v Wigan
West Ham were unlucky not to beat Man United on Wednesday night. For all their hard work and skill, they were undone by an offside goal. The match ended 2-2. I watched the match and I was impressed by the manner in which the players work for each other, their determination to succeed. They have been described by some as being like Stoke when they are playing at home, only with more quality in the final third. Lets remember that when Stoke were going through their good spell, their home form was all important. It has been the same with the Hammers.
They entertain Wigan who, in my opinion have been distracted by the FA Cup. I feel that as a club, they didn’t need it, if staying in the Premier League is a priority that is, of course. Lets imagine, even if they do stay up, will the club have the squad to be able to cope with Thursday night football AND remain in the league yet again? I doubt it. We can’t deny that it’s a marvellous achievement for the Latics, but in terms of their overall objectives long term, there are more negatives than positives to it. That’s just my opinion on it. You might think otherwise.
Anyway, my money will be going on the home win in this one. With West Ham buoyed from an impressive performance midweek, and with all the pressure on Wigan, as well as the distractions, the Hammers look like a good bet to me.
Bet Selection: West Ham to win @ 5/4 with Boylesports
Sunderland v Everton
Paolo Di Canio led his new club to a 3-0 win over arch rivals Newcastle last weekend. The Italian manager has been brought in to inject some life into a Sunderland side that was plodding along towards the wrong end of the Premier League table. Just like an impact substitute, the Italian has ‘changed the game’, instantly and to the delight of Black Cat supporters. It was interesting to see players like Adam Johnson and Stéphane Sességnon playing with spark last week, a couple of players who are clearly talented but have been virtually anonymous for most of the season. It could well be that Di Canio’s influence extracts the best out of a number of other players too and I feel that further improvement is forthcoming from this side.
Sunderland take on Everton who go into this match as favourites. Their quality is clear but they have failed to win any of their last five league matches away from home and they are in for a very tough game here. With a top four finish looking increasingly unrealistic, the motivation might not be quite as strong as it would have been. When I look at that and combine it with the goings on at Sunderland, the sensible and value choice for me is to oppose the favourites and take advantage of an excellent price on the home win.
Bet Selection: Sunderland to win @ 5/2 with Stan James