Baggies to prove tough nut to crack for United

FOOTBALL TRADER BEN CLEMINSON TAKES A LOOK AT THE BEST FOOTBALL BETS OF THE WEEKEND

SUNDAY – 4.00PM SKY SPORTS

SIR ALEX Ferguson will have been delighted with Manchester United’s performance against local rivals Manchester City in the Community Shield last weekend. There were some defensive lapses in the first half, but they showed their battling qualities and deserved to win the game in the end.

They looked excellent going forward and the combination of Ashley Young and Nani on the wings, with Wayne Rooney up the middle should spell trouble for defences all season. David de Gea didn’t make the strongest of debuts, though, and United were shaky at the back on their travels last season.

Roy Hodgson will know that West Brom will have to be on their A-game if they are to take anything from this one, but I wouldn’t put that past them given their home form in 2010/11. They were strong at the Hawthorns, winning eight and drawing six of their 19 games, and although they lost 2-1 to United here in January, they managed to take a point at Old Trafford last October.

There is no doubt that United are the most likely winners, but 8/15 with Paddy Power can’t be considered value for a side that won just five of their 19 away league games last term. The Baggies are tough and although they aren’t particularly strong at the back, Peter Odemwingie was excellent last season and Hodgson has been active in the transfer market this summer.

Ben Foster is set to face his old teammates and he should be a good acquisition, while the late signing of Shane Long from Reading could prove inspired. The Baggies will be bang up for this one and although they have lost all five Premier League home games against United, I fancy them to nick a point. The draw can be backed at 3/1 with Paddy Power and that looks a fair price to me.

West Brom fans saw plenty of goals at the Hawthorns last season with eight of the last 17 games producing at least four, including three of their six hosting top-six sides. There were also three or more goals in 13 of those 17 games, while eight of United’s 19 away contests last season produced a minimum of four.

It would be no surprise to see this turn out to be a high scoring game and punters are advised to take some of the 18/1 available with William Hill about the 2-2 scoreline, as well as buying total goals at 3 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Draw at 3/1 with Paddy Power
2-2 correct scoreline at 18/1 with William Hill
Buy total match goals at 3 with Sporting Index