FOOTBALL BETTING: Live On Sky Sports 1: Sat: 12:45
Chris Hutcheon previews the weekend’s Premier League programme including the eagerly awaited showdown at Old Trafford between Man U and Chelsea.
Only a point separates Manchester United and Chelsea at the Premiership’s summit as the season reaches the home straight and so with just a handful of games left after this weekend’s programme, to suggest that the pair’s Old Trafford showdown could be pivotal is something of an understatement.
United still occupy the box seat in terms of the title race, according to the bookies anyway; 888Sport pricing Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at 10/11 to retain the trophy and Jaxx.com quoting the Blues at 7/5 to come out on top and it’s the same story in the match betting where the hosts are narrow favourites at 13/8 (Betfred) to scoop all three points.
A total of 14 victories in 16 home games, suggests that those odds, as well as Ladbrokes’ 9/5 chalked against Carlo Ancelotti’s men, are about right, however, there are one or two reasons for Chelsea to head north with a spring in their step.
Firstly, their elimination from the Champions League means they didn’t face a gruelling European clash in midweek, their last two games have seen them rack up a dozen goals and concede just one while, crucially, they won’t come up against Wayne Rooney.
Despite the healthy scoring rates of both sides, there’s a possibility that they may cancel each other out in this one, especially in Rooney’s absence and a goalless encounter at 17/2 with William Hill isn’t as far-fetched as the stats suggest. Certainly, bet365’s 3/4 for the clash to produce fewer than three goals is worth considering, although it may still be prudent to keep stakes modest given the form of the likes of Didier Drogba, who is 9/2 (Betfred) to break the deadlock.
A stalemate would be the ideal result for Arsenal, who are a banker at 1/5 courtesy of Partybets to capitalise by seeing off Wolves at the Emirates, where the Gunners should come out on top by at least two clear goals (8/15, bet365).
In the battle for fourth, Tottenham’s difficult run-in makes Manchester City a decent bet at 6/4 with William Hill, although the same firm’s 11/4 for Liverpool to secure the final Champions League berth isn’t without appeal.
City nevertheless seem like the team set to come out of this weekend’s fixture in the best shape; they’re 8/11 with Ladbrokes to overcome Burnley while Liverpool, at 13/5 (888Sport) may only manage a draw at stubborn Birmingham and Spurs also look set to earn just a point at Sunderland; a result Paddy Power quote at 23/10.
Everton still have an outside chance of a European place and a 4/9 chance courtesy of Totesport, David Moyes’ side should improve their chances with a home win against hapless West Ham. Stuttering Aston Villa however, may find life tough at Bolton, who are overpriced at 11/5 (Victor Chandler).
At the other end meanwhile, Hull’s survival chances are 4/5 with Betfred to be dented by a defeat at Stoke, rock bottom Portsmouth are 12/5 (Betdaq) to share the spoils with Blackburn and William Hill make Wigan evens to go down at Fulham.