West Ham vs Leeds Odds: Bowen to bury the Whites again
Injury-ravaged Leeds United head south to the capital to kick off Super Sunday with a clash against high-flying West Ham United, live on Sky Sports Football. We've asked @joshuapsjones to take a look at this game and he's picked out two stats driven opportunities.
If you’re getting a bit of Deja Vu about this game like I did when I saw it, don't be alarmed, as the two sides met just a week ago at the same venue in the FA Cup Third Round. The hosts won that game 2-0, a feat they repeated against Norwich in midweek, and booked themselves a fourth round tie against National League North side Kidderminster Harriers - they will be hoping to avoid a giant killing at the 6,444 capacity Aggborough Stadium. It’s a good opportunity for them to progress deep into the FA Cup though and a strong Hammers side made light work of their counterparts last week. David Moyes put out a fairly strong side for the cup game - with Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek all starting - and they were able to dispatch of a Leeds side that’s been decimated with injuries fairly comfortably.
The Yorkshire outfit could be without up to eleven players for Sunday’s clash as their list of absentees just continues to grow. Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper, Tyler Roberts, Pascal Struijk, Joe Gelhardt, Jamie Shackleton, and Charlie Creswell are all ruled out through injury, whilst Diego Llorente is absent for accumulation of yellow cards. There’s potentially good news on the horizon though, as Patrick Bamford could be available for selection despite suffering an injury setback last weekend. Rodrigo Moreno and Junior Firpo may also be fit enough to feature, with the latter picking up an injury during that FA Cup defeat.
Given their tumultuous situation, particularly missing Bamford and Phillips for much of the season, Marcelo Bielsa arguably deserves a lot of credit for steering his side away from a relegation dogfight. The Whites are currently eight points clear of the drop zone and have survived by beating the sides below them - with three of their four wins this season coming against sides below them in the league. They’ve also only lost once in 12 games against sides outside the Top 7, a commendable feat that in no way helps them here as West Ham are really having themselves a season.
The Hammers regained a spot in the top four in midweek off the back of three consecutive Premier League wins since Boxing Day, firmly cementing themselves as a ‘Top 7’ side, and have been scoring for fun since Christmas. That’s bad news for their visitors, who have lost all seven games against elite opposition by a combined scoreline of 26-6, conceding at least twice in all seven games. That average of 3.7 conceded per game rises to 4.25 per game away from home, which has included a 7-0 defeat at Manchester City and their 5-1 opening day loss at Manchester United.
Unfortunately for them, West Ham have scored 13 times in five games in all competitions since receiving their obligatory Lynx Africa gift sets and look set to add to Bielsa’s misery - courtesy of Jarrod Bowen. He has been doing much of the heavy lifting for them since Christmas - scoring three and assisting three in that time. The former Hull man has scored all three of those goals in the past week and has been a driving force for them in 2022. He’s really stepped up in the absence of Said Benrahma, who is representing Algeria at AFCON. The Hammers will also be without Kurt Zouma, Mark Noble, Ryan Fredericks, and Angelo Ogbonna whilst Tomas Soucek faces a race against time to have recovered from illness after missing the midweek win against Norwich.
West Ham vs Leeds Tips
As mentioned above, the stats for West Ham goals look very encouraging. The Hammers have been 2+ in five consecutive games, whilst Leeds have conceded at least twice in all nine of their games against the ‘Top 7’ in all competitions.
Bowen, meanwhile, is in a rich vein of form for testing the keeper; managing a shot on target in nine of his last 11 starts in all competitions. He’s also managed six shots on target in his last two games, starting 2022 in scintillating style.
Continuing with Bowen, the 5/2 about him finding the net having done so three times in two games - including against this opponent - certainly appeals. He’s managed 10 shots in his last three starts against Leeds and could have the freedom of the London Stadium to do so again here.
Firpo, meanwhile, was caused all sorts of problems by Bowen in the FA Cup tie, committing two fouls in 70 minutes, and was lucky not to be reprimanded in the first half by referee Stuart Atwell in that one. Taking charge of this one is the ever enigmatic Mike Dean, who has shown 44 yellows in 13 Premier League games this season - including one to Firpo in the only Leeds game he has taken charge of. The Wirral official has given four or more cards in each of his last four PL games, so we could be in for cards here, whilst the Brazilian full-back has picked up 0.5 cards per 90 in the league whilst committing 2.5 fouls per 90 too.
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