Wednesday's FA Cup replay between West Ham and Man United could turn out to be a tight affair.
Both these teams suffered setbacks in their attempts to qualify for next season’s Champions League at the weekend but while West Ham can take several positives out of their performance against Arsenal, where refereeing decisions again went against them, there was not much for United to enjoy in a comprehensive defeat at White Hart Lane. It’s been a recurring theme for United all season as every time they look to have taken a step forward they take two back and after 32 games they have their lowest ever points total in a Premier League season while their total of 39 goals scored is nine fewer than their previous worst tally at this stage.
So United are clearly there for the taking right now and West Ham should be full of confidence. The Hammers are unbeaten in their last 16 home games dating back almost six months. They’ve not beaten United since 2010 but that shouldn’t be a factor given they’ve already beaten Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool (twice) here this season while drawing with both Man City and Arsenal in games they could easily have won.
Since the start of last season seven of the Hammers’ nine FA Cup matches have had fewer than three goals. That has also been the case in both their meetings with United this season as their trip to Old Trafford in December finished goalless and the first attempt at this tie ended 1-1. Neither Payet nor Lanzini were available for that first game though so West Ham were always likely to struggle more in attack for that one and it was Payet who scored the opener when they met last month.
United have beaten Arsenal and City in the past couple of months but were also outplayed by Spurs and Liverpool in that time. The most consistent part of their game though has been the lack of output from the attack. Since the start of March they’ve scored just five times in eight matches with seven having fewer than three goals and four fewer than two. Furthermore, five of their last six trips to the current top half in the league have had fewer than three goals.
This will be the 22nd 6th Round replay since 1992/93 and just two of the previous 21 have finished level. Interestingly there’s been no home bias in these matches, with the away side winning on 10 occasions, while from a goals perspective there is no particularly strong trend. However, current form clearly favours the Hammers and as slight underdogs they offer some appeal at 2.88. But given United’s attacking woes and the generally solid West Ham defence – they’ve kept five clean sheets in nine home games in 2016 – under-goals looks the best bet with the 3.2 for Under 1.5 representing decent value.
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