Baggies and Toffees to bore new Albion boss

Weekend English Premier League matches – Saturday 18 January 2014

New West Bromwich manager Pepe Mel has a big reputation for producing teams that play attractive, attack-minded football but the statistics of the Baggies and their English Premier League opponents, the Toffees of Everton, support betting on under two and a half goals in their match at The Hawthorns.

Mel was in the St Mary’s stands to watch West Bromwich play Southampton and, from a punting perspective, one will hope that the Baggies perform as lethargically against Everton as they did versus the Saints because they created very little. According to seasoned West Bromwich supporters, the Baggies produced their worst display of the season for what ended up being Keith Downing’s last game in temporary charge.

Everton and West Bromwich met in the second round of English Premier League matches and bored the pants of everyone at the ground, playing out a 0-0 draw. Everton had much the better of the game, dominating the three main statistics – corners, shots on target and possession – but to no avail.

888sport, BetVictor and Unibet are offering odds of 1.95 that West Bromwich and Everton combine for under two and a half goals at The Hawthorns. Thirteen of West Bromwich’s 21 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including seven of its 10 home games. Eleven of Everton’s 21 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including six of its 10 away games. Under two and a half goals should be the favourite in light of the numbers above and it does not hurt that Everton and West Bromwich drew 0-0 at Goodison Park five months ago.

Another under-two-and-a-half-goals bet that appeals, albeit as the hot favourite, pertains to the English Premier League match between Norwich and Hull, a game that has the feel of a relegation six-pointer even though the Canaries are 15th and the Tigers are 10th after the midway point of the term.

Hull and Norwich produced only one goal between them when they met at the KC Stadium in August 2013 and that was in spite of the Tigers playing more than an hour with 10 men following the 27th-minute dismissal of Yannick Sagbo.

Ladbrokes, Sky Bet and Stan James are offering odds of 1.67 that Norwich and Hull combine for under two and a half goals at Carrow Road. Thirteen of Norwich’s 21 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including six of its 10 home games. Fifteen of Hull’s 21 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including seven of its 10 away games. One can understand why bookmakers are trying to avoid bets on two and a half goals but they have not gone sufficiently short.

Backing top English Premier League teams to beat the elite’s lesser lights at home without conceding a goal is well worth considering and Arsenal, trading at odds of 2.10 with Sky Bet to keep a clean sheet and defeat Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, really ought to be odds on to win to nil.

Obviously, the key to the bet given that Arsenal is first in the English Premier League and Fulham is 16th is how many goals the Cottagers manage to score because the Gunners are long odds-on favourites. Fulham has found the back of the net eight times in its 10 English Premier League away matches but the Cottagers registered half of those goals against Crystal Palace in what was a crazy game. Two of Fulham’s goals at Selhurst Park were absolute belters.

Of more support to the suggested play is that Fulham has not scored in six of its 10 English Premier League away matches, with its half a dozen blanks occurring versus Chelsea, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham. Fulham has managed to score on the road against only Crystal Palace, Everton, Norwich and Sunderland. Back Arsenal to win to nil, something that the Gunners have done five times in their 10 English Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium.

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