FOOTBALL BETTING: Live ITV1 at 1pm on Sunday
Arch rivals Leeds and Manchester United maybe be two divisions apart but that could count for nothing in the televised FA Cup third round tie.
The fact that Leeds could have sold their 8500-ticket allocation for their FA Cup third round trip to Manchester United, several times over, suggests that it remains one of the biggest rivalries in football, despite the fact that the pair haven’t met for almost six years.
A contrast in fortunes has led to the fixture’s hiatus; with Leeds having floundered and dropped down a couple of divisions while, much to the chagrin of the West Yorkshire outfit, United have won the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and three Premiership titles over the same period. However, that will count for nought as the pair renew hostilities in what is sure to be a hotly contested encounter at Old Trafford.
The hosts’ superiority and home advantage means they are bet365’s 1/4 favourites, with Simon Grayson’s men quoted at 12/1 by Betdaq to cause what would be considered these days to be a huge upset. Leeds are 5/1, courtesy of Victor Chandler to force a replay but it’s difficult to oppose Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, even though the United boss could rest one or two of his key players.
Nevertheless, the League One leaders will undoubtedly make life very uncomfortable for the Premiership champions and there’s every chance that the pair will be on level terms at the break (19/10, Jaxx.com). Manchester United are 7/2 at Totesport to come out on top following that drawn first half and with a close affair a distinct possibility, a solid case can be made for both 888Sport’s 6/1 for Ferguson’s charges to notch the only goal and Partybets’ 11/4 for the home side to shade it by a solitary goal.
Meanwhile, Michael Owen could be included from the start and he’s 3/1 (Betfred) to break the deadlock and at the other end, in-form Leeds marksman Jermain Beckford is 8/1 with Ladbrokes to send the sizeable travelling contingent into raptures by opening the scoring.
Elsewhere, Cup holders Chelsea entertain Watford and a home banker; the Blues are one for accumulators at just 1/7 (Stan James) to come out on top. Carlo Ancelotti’s troops are 2/5 with Paddy Power to win by at least two goals and in today’s other eye catching ties Wolves are 17/20 (William Hill) to negotiate a tricky tie at Tranmere but a potentially youthful Arsenal, with half an eye on the league, don’t look as safe at West Ham, where the hosts are a hefty 9/2 by Victor Chandler to cause a mini-upset.