Soccer English Premier League Prediction
Manchester Utd vs Brentford - Match Preview
⚽ 5 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
“They wanted to win more” was the damning verdict of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after his side’s 2-0 defeat to top-four rivals Newcastle on their return to Premier League (PL) action. Despite a treble of cup triumphs still being on the cards, the Dutchman is bound to be concerned with his side’s league form, as the Red Devils are now without a win or goal in three PL matches (D1, L2) - a run that leaves them on the cusp of dropping out of the top-four.
United haven’t failed to score in four consecutive matches in the PL era, so a return to Old Trafford is a welcome sight as they look to avoid that bit of unwanted history. Ten Hag’s men are unbeaten on home soil in all competitions since September (W19, D3), while no side in the division has conceded fewer than their eight PL home goals this season, boosting belief that a change in fortunes could be on the horizon.
Visiting Brentford travel north bruised, as the Bees squandered the lead three times in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Brighton last time out. Boss Thomas Frank admitted “you hope for more” in the circumstances, but despite Saturday’s collapse, his side remains a tough nut to crack having lost just once in the PL since October (W7, D8).
That stellar run of form leaves them inside the top seven and on course for a European appearance, an achievement that would've been beyond the wildest dreams of even their most optimistic fans in just their second season in the PL. If those dreams are to become reality, improving on the road would likely go some way to making that happen as the Bees have won just one of their PL away games in 2023 (D3, L1).
📋 Key battle: United playmaker Bruno Fernandes directly contributed to three goals across two H2Hs with Brentford last term (G1, A2), whilst each of his last three goals have come at Old Trafford. He’ll be duelling with Brentford dynamo Mathias Jensen, who scored in the Bees’ 4-0 rout of United in this season’s reverse fixture.
⚡ Hot stat: Man Utd have scored 16 of their 24 PL home goals this season after half-time.
West Ham vs Newcastle - Match Preview
⚽ 5 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
As far as pressure-relieving wins go, West Ham’s 1-0 victory over fellow relegation battlers Southampton on Sunday was certainly up there. On a weekend that saw two Premier League (PL) managerial casualties, Irons’ boss David Moyes can’t underestimate the magnitude of that win, one that provisionally steered them away from the immediate clutches of relegation.
On paper, West Ham arguably faces the trickiest relegation run-in of all, largely because they’re playing midweek and weekend football from now up until the beginning of May, a fixture schedule that will become even more hectic should their UEFA Europa Conference League journey continue. Playing at home should help boost any tired legs though, with West Ham unbeaten in five PL home matches (W3, D2), their longest such run of the season.
That record comes under serious threat against Newcastle, with the Magpies finding their mojo again at just the right time of the season. A three-match winning PL run is bookended by a convincing 2-0 victory over top-four rivals Manchester United at the weekend, a result Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has urged his side to “build on” as their push for a first PL top-four finish since 2002/03 gathers momentum.
Newcastle won’t mind hitting the road in search of rising to Howe’s challenge, with their only defeat across their last ten travelling PL games coming at the hands of Manchester City (W5, D4). The Magpies have been similarly high-flying on their visits to London too, avoiding defeat in all four of their PL visits to the capital so far this season (W2, D2), last piecing together a longer such unbeaten run over nine years ago!
📋 Players to watch: In search of a small piece of history, West Ham’s Danny Ings knows a goal here would see him become only the third player in history to score a PL goal against Newcastle with four different clubs. While attention will fall on Newcastle's big-hitters, Joe Willock has ghosted under the radar of late, with three goal contributions (G1, A2) from his last three PL starts.
⚡ Hot stat: West Ham is the only side in Europe’s top-five leagues yet to score a goal inside the opening 15 minutes this season.
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